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First build - anti static mat necessary?

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June 3, 2007 4:44:53 PM

I was looking at:
This anti static mat
for my first build. Are these really necessary? The last thing I'd want to do after spending $1300 is fry my system! :?

More about : build anti static mat

June 3, 2007 5:07:54 PM

I wouldn't have thought you'd need one; most modern components are fairly resistant to static. Then again, it doesn't cost much, and if it makes you more confident, go for it.
June 3, 2007 5:09:23 PM

Hey,
I have never worried about anti static devices while building a pc before. I think its somewhat overhyped. This doesnt mean that you shouldnt take care. When installing components, always choose a good place to hold them. For instance, you only want to hold ram by placing a finger on each far edge. If you do this with your cpu, motherboard, ram and expansion cards you will be fine. Also, regularly run your hands over the chassis that ur putting the components in. This will help discharge any possible static buildup.
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June 3, 2007 5:10:56 PM

not really, as long as you periodically ground yourself while building you should be fine. Actually they say you need an anti static mat every time you do anything with a computer, but you don't see dell selling them with the computer.
June 3, 2007 5:11:31 PM

I've built tons of computers on a carpet in my living room and never shocked a single component. Really really really don't bother with any anti-stat devices, they're pointless.

You shouldn't be putting bare fingers on RAM chips or CPU dies anyway, so just hold stuff by the corners and you'll be totally fine.

Don't worry about it!
June 3, 2007 5:23:00 PM

awesome - thanks guys!
June 3, 2007 5:29:15 PM

If your concern about static, get one of the wrist straps. Or just touch the PS every time you touch or add ram or hardware. SCSI cards are sensitive, but thats the only one I know of.

I've used the mats on PC keyboards where static is a problem with the carpet (wool). Gives you east way to dispate the charge. The Old Apple's use to be very sensitive to static. If you did not use one you could easily knock one out. But that was 15+ years ago. Most of the hardware these days are not sensitive. If you are going to be doing board level repair, it would be a good idea.
June 3, 2007 5:54:57 PM

I just built my brother a $1500 PC on my living room carpet, and didn't fry a thing (although the MB was DOA). Touch the PSU before picking up a component, pick it up using the corners of the PCB, not the metal contacts, and dont do stupid things like rub your feet on the carpet. You'll be fine.
June 3, 2007 6:01:04 PM

touching the PSU can be a little dangerous especially if someone didn't install a capacitor right 8O , so I would suggest using the bare metal of the case, being that the case doesn't use high power. :p 
June 3, 2007 6:16:27 PM

Quote:
touching the PSU can be a little dangerous especially if someone didn't install a capacitor right Shocked , so I would suggest using the bare metal of the case, being that the case doesn't use high power. Razz


Being that the case and PSU are directly connected together, touching either one will have the same effect.
June 3, 2007 6:18:34 PM

If the power receptcal is not wired correctly it want matter what you touch. The PS is still grounded to the case. But if its a plexiglass case you must touch the PS.
June 3, 2007 6:24:37 PM

Generally, I find I have more room if I install the power supply last. But I think of it this way; the psu is like a CRT monitor, the capacitors in both can hold allot of power, even when not connected. If you have a plexiglass case then find something that holds less power to ground yourself on.
June 4, 2007 4:00:04 AM

Quote:
Generally, I find I have more room if I install the power supply last. But I think of it this way; the psu is like a CRT monitor, the capacitors in both can hold allot of power, even when not connected. If you have a plexiglass case then find something that holds less power to ground yourself on.

Capacitors can only shock you if you touch both terminals at once. The risk of that happening from touching the chassis is nil - if the two cap terminals did simultaneously touch chassis somehow (requiring broken wires in your PSU) they'd just discharge the cap (probably violently) not shock the user. The PSU chassis is grounded specifically to protect you and it grounds the computer case through being bolted together.

Note that actually sticking your hands IN the power supply is an extremely stupid idea and will probably get you shocked, but touching the chassis is fine.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 4, 2007 4:38:03 AM

static schmatic - when your makin your system just build it good and dont over worry bout it, and obviously, dont like put your sticky mits all over everything ;) 

she be fine
June 4, 2007 4:59:48 AM

For my first build which was not that long ago I just used some laytex gloves and did the build on my kitchen table.
June 4, 2007 5:06:05 AM

I'm going to get flamed for this most likely but anyway, I wouldnt say that using an anti static mat is needed however I would advocate some sort of anti static precautions.

I have been suprised to learn how few people realise that components rarely fail immediatly due to ESD but may fail months later starting many "Ive had 3 company X components fail in 4 years what a crap company" type threads.

Voltages that are not even detectable by human hands can be enough to ESD a component so most of the time you wont even know you have damaged something(cant remember the exact figures though will endevour to find out if you would like).

So if you are going to build your own system try to do so while standing on a wooden floor not on carpet(this is right up there with using a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from a system to varying degree depending on the carpet).

Either buy an anti static strap or consistently keep one hand on the chassis as this ensure you are grounded.

try not to let your clothing come into contact with system parts as they often generate static.

Keep the device in the bag until you are ready to use it.
If you have components unpakaged leave them at least sitting on the antistatic bags they came with dont just randomly put them on the floor or something while installing a different part.

There is a reason profesionals follow antistatic procedures.

However please dont only listen to me I'm sure someone else who follows basic antistatic procedures will reply soon.
June 4, 2007 5:37:58 AM

If you are from the UK like some in this thread, the place is so damp they cant even keep their underwear dry :D  so in that case I would not use one either.

I live in Canada where it is very dry. I am doing my 1st build also, and 2 days ago I walked over carpet (like 6' only), I fortunately did a touch the PSU thing, and before I even touched it, there was a spark that startled me.

Since I cant tell from your sig where you are from, let's just say, take the advice given here. But if you live in Northern Canada or Alaska, go ahead and get the mat ;-)
June 4, 2007 5:02:42 PM

Well, the mat only helps you from building up a charge when your on it, you still need to discharge before you start working on it and every time after you move off of it, so the mat really isn't that covenant for most people, especially for the occasional build. Just ground yourself patriotically on something, I still don't recommend the power supply, it won't ground any better then the case if it's not plugged in.
June 4, 2007 5:05:50 PM

You don't really need one. Just be sure to ground yourself before you touch any electronic component. For example, I would lay down the PC case's side panel on the floor (not carpeted) and touch that every now and then.

I wouldn't recommend building your PC on a rug or carpet though.
June 4, 2007 5:31:39 PM

Quote:
Well, the mat only helps you from building up a charge when your on it, you still need to discharge before you start working on it and every time after you move off of it, so the mat really isn't that covenant for most people, especially for the occasional build. Just ground yourself patriotically on something, I still don't recommend the power supply, it won't ground any better then the case if it's not plugged in.


Someone's been playing WAY too much Halo.
June 4, 2007 9:56:37 PM

Quote:
Well, the mat only helps you from building up a charge when your on it, you still need to discharge before you start working on it and every time after you move off of it, so the mat really isn't that covenant for most people, especially for the occasional build. Just ground yourself patriotically on something, I still don't recommend the power supply, it won't ground any better then the case if it's not plugged in.


Someone's been playing WAY too much Halo.

WTF?
a b B Homebuilt system
June 5, 2007 12:25:30 PM

Quote:
I'm going to get flamed for this most likely but anyway, I wouldnt say that using an anti static mat is needed however I would advocate some sort of anti static precautions.

I have been suprised to learn how few people realise that components rarely fail immediatly due to ESD but may fail months later starting many "Ive had 3 company X components fail in 4 years what a crap company" type threads.

Voltages that are not even detectable by human hands can be enough to ESD a component so most of the time you wont even know you have damaged something(cant remember the exact figures though will endevour to find out if you would like).

So if you are going to build your own system try to do so while standing on a wooden floor not on carpet(this is right up there with using a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from a system to varying degree depending on the carpet).

Either buy an anti static strap or consistently keep one hand on the chassis as this ensure you are grounded.

try not to let your clothing come into contact with system parts as they often generate static.

Keep the device in the bag until you are ready to use it.
If you have components unpakaged leave them at least sitting on the antistatic bags they came with dont just randomly put them on the floor or something while installing a different part.

There is a reason profesionals follow antistatic procedures.

However please dont only listen to me I'm sure someone else who follows basic antistatic procedures will reply soon.


yeah hence why i touch earth ;) 

and as for static electricity - the fans in your case would also create it some what i would think?
June 5, 2007 2:01:34 PM

maybe, if the air is dry enough, but most fans are plastic and will resist build up like an anti-static mat.
June 5, 2007 3:45:04 PM

Quote:
I was looking at:
This anti static mat
for my first build. Are these really necessary? The last thing I'd want to do after spending $1300 is fry my system! :?


The amount of static buildup possible depends on the area you live in. Dry climates are a death trap of SE (static ele) buildup.

As someone who makes a living building computers, I would recomend at least a wrist strap. True, the odds are you wont shock anything, but the odds aren't that low. I build 100's computers a year, rebuild them, and pull and replace parts. I can tell you that static discharge still fries components. Is it worth the risk? The headache or time required to RMA the part back?

If you want to start building computers, first do it properly.. then decide if you want lax on safety.
June 5, 2007 4:16:20 PM

Quote:


Keep the device in the bag until you are ready to use it.
If you have components unpakaged leave them at least sitting on the antistatic bags they came with dont just randomly put them on the floor or something while installing a different part.


Oh dear. Bad idea to place stuff on them bags, it's the inside not the outside thats antistatic i do believe.
June 5, 2007 4:29:11 PM

Quote:


Keep the device in the bag until you are ready to use it.
If you have components unpakaged leave them at least sitting on the antistatic bags they came with dont just randomly put them on the floor or something while installing a different part.


Oh dear. Bad idea to place stuff on them bags, it's the inside not the outside thats antistatic i do believe.

Your right. Quite a few times that I was told the outside of the bag, does the opposite of the inside of the bag.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 6, 2007 10:56:35 AM

Quote:
I was looking at:
This anti static mat
for my first build. Are these really necessary? The last thing I'd want to do after spending $1300 is fry my system! :?


The amount of static buildup possible depends on the area you live in. Dry climates are a death trap of SE (static ele) buildup.

As someone who makes a living building computers, I would recomend at least a wrist strap. True, the odds are you wont shock anything, but the odds aren't that low. I build 100's computers a year, rebuild them, and pull and replace parts. I can tell you that static discharge still fries components. Is it worth the risk? The headache or time required to RMA the part back?

If you want to start building computers, first do it properly.. then decide if you want lax on safety.

im the only tech in my store, iv built hundreds of pcs and performed thousands of repairs and never used the wrist bands - no problems yet.
June 6, 2007 12:20:37 PM

15 plus years ago I was an avionics tech in the Navy. They preached static precautions constantly in the electronics schools, and later in the squadron. The post made by chungdokwan is great advice. I use to use a static arm strap when assembling a build. I now just touch the chassis frequently, and try to keep a hand on it. Avoid carpet.
June 6, 2007 12:31:00 PM

Quote:


Keep the device in the bag until you are ready to use it.
If you have components unpakaged leave them at least sitting on the antistatic bags they came with dont just randomly put them on the floor or something while installing a different part.


Oh dear. Bad idea to place stuff on them bags, it's the inside not the outside thats antistatic i do believe.

Depends on what type of Bag!
June 6, 2007 1:02:12 PM

Yep: I fried a perfectly fine mobo & 2 sticks of DDR2 RAM relatively recently through ESD- it happens (somehow the 6600 cpu survived). Yes, they did RMA- and yes it was a pain in the arse doing it.

One thing thats being overlooked. If your relying on the case / psu to earth your rig, just remember that it needs to be plugged in to the mains (but powered off). Well, thats in the UK where all electrical sockets need to be earthed.
June 6, 2007 1:07:16 PM

Desk i built my PC on has a radiator at the back of it, i just used that as the earth touch that and the case before starting to build and everything is good to go.
June 6, 2007 2:02:26 PM

For those who are doubters, any anti-static device is cheap insurance. Been there and done that. Always helping my in-laws with their systems. They want the latest and greatest, but are absolute n00bs. They wanted me to install a Audigy X-Fi sound card into her system. Sat down in her chair, reached over to put in the driver cd, touched the side of the case, SNAP. Instant shut down. Will not restart. In the end, one dead BadAxe 2 (not CMOS) and one dead 8800 GT.
Only time it ever happened, lucky was able to RMA both parts.
Recipe for static: take one chair with fabric and plastic wheels, add carpet and/or one of those plastic roll mats, mix in low humidity, bang, it's done. And the thing is, you will NEVER see it coming.
!