**POLL** ESD Safety Precautions

Im just curious to know what you all do to avoid ESD damage to your motherboard and other delicate PC components. I see so many people having DOAs and various problems with all brands of motherboards on Newegg. Almost all boards listed there have high percentages of problems.

I wonder if this is due to ESD, and people not taking precautions? But then again, the CPUs for Intel and AMD have almost no reports of failures, yet they are supposedly the most delicate piece of hardware of them all...

What are your opinions of ESD, and the best ways to prevent it?
32 answers Last reply
More about poll safety precautions
  1. I never take any precautions aside from never handling parts while standing on a carpet ..... been building systems for 13 years and never had a part failed 'cause of ESD.
  2. Just touch the case periodically. Don't do the install on carpet and don't wear wool or other static prone clothing.

    The parts on Newegg that "blow up" are, more than likely, from Newbs that don't know which end is up. And of course some that just fail.
  3. I just touch the case i have built on and off the carpet with no problems lucky ??
  4. On a cool, crisp day

    Wear lots of wool

    Rapidly drag your feet on a shag carpet in order to build up a really good charge


    Then touch your kid/sibling on the ear, laugh, then walk away and go build your computer.
  5. I responed - ESD strap and Mat (Mat is only used for build and becuase I have one). Granted a MB/memory/GPU are cheap compared to a 10 Mil satellite. But hay, that 250 - 300 comes out of my pocket so I'm alittle cautious - But that's me.

    Attending a 3 1/2 Hr ESD class on Wen. (Certification required for Work)

    I think the response would be different if people attended one of these classes.

    smartel7070 - Not to say you have, But you have no way off knowing, UNLESS you have not had a hardware failure, or knew the EXACT nature of failure. Cost to evaluate a component is on the order of 25 grand - Not worth the cost for vast majority of consummer electronics.
  6. I built my first computer back in 2002, and didn't even know about ESD then. I had the PC case on the carpet floor, and had the board sitting on its cardboard box. I actually touched all over the board while looking at all the connections and such... it still runs just fine today, haha.

    But then I heard about ESD and began to do research... and of course started worrying more and more as I learned how dangerous ESD is. So eventually I went to Best Buy and got their 8 dollar wrist strap. I guess ignorance is bliss...
  7. Hey there RetiredChief. I'm the other guy that uses an ESD strap now.
  8. RetiredChief - The last hardware failure I had was a doa hard drive back in 1996.
  9. RetiredChief said:
    I responed - ESD strap and Mat (Mat is only used for build and becuase I have one). Granted a MB/memory/GPU are cheap compared to a 10 Mil satellite. But hay, that 250 - 300 comes out of my pocket so I'm alittle cautious - But that's me.

    Attending a 3 1/2 Hr ESD class on Wen. (Certification required for Work)

    I think the response would be different if people attended one of these classes.

    smartel7070 - Not to say you have, But you have no way off knowing, UNLESS you have not had a hardware failure, or knew the EXACT nature of failure. Cost to evaluate a component is on the order of 25 grand - Not worth the cost for vast majority of consummer electronics.


    Anonymous said:
    Hey there RetiredChief. I'm the other guy that uses an ESD strap now.


    Where do you guys attach the strap and mat to? Wall ground socket, or to the PC case. There is a lot of confusion in ESD discussions whether everything should be earth grounded or just grounded to each other to keep the potential the same.
  10. RetiredChief said:
    Attending a 3 1/2 Hr ESD class on Wen. (Certification required for Work)

    I think the response would be different if people attended one of these classes.


    i dont know about that...i took a course like that and the most i've ever done to prevent esd is take a sip of my gatorade...as long as youre not shimmying around in wool socks rubbing balloons on your head you should be fine.
  11. I just touch the case briefly. I've also always work on my computer on carpet, and built it on the carpet. I just make sure to always touch metal anytime I got to get up and move around. Not to mention I prep everything before I sit down to do it anyways, so not much moving *although thats just me being lazy lol*.
  12. DOAs are caused by one of the following in no particular order:
    1. Inexperience in force fitting a product
    2. Shipping bouncing the product and knocking something loose
    3. Immediate electrical issue, such as a short, or inserting a card when the system was on.
    4. Transportation abuse by user creating a DOA, when something jostles loose and shorts OR hard drive bouncing = bad.
    5. Manufacturer flaw. Hand installed part not quite right.

    Leave a power cord plugged into the system, but have the switch on the back off. This grounds the system because the ground and neutral wires are still connected. I am a big guy and as such i have large arms and hands. It is nearly impossible for me to work inside anything less than a full tower without at the very least brushing against the case. Just unscrewing and removing side panels you ground yourself first thing.

    There is a significantly higher chance of you damaging your computer via bouncing your box and therefore damaging the hard drive than to kill it via static. I have a friend that loses a hard drive once every few lan parties just because of how he treats his system as a whole, not static. He blames his motherboard for frying them. Go figure.
  13. I usually start my build on my kitchen table, and touch the case periodically to ground myself. I used to be more careless, but one night while I was drinking with a buddy and building his computer on the carpet, the static electricity from my body visibly arced from my hand to his motherboard. Thankfully that was when Frys didn't give you a hard time about exchanging "faulty" boards.
  14. The arc is a good indication of an ESD failure. :lol:

    Yes I know that no arc is necessary to damage equipment.
    ________________________________________________

    Additionally, everyone keep your sticky fingers off the board, hold it by the edges.
  15. I definitely handle everything by the edges now (the system I built for my buddy was a first gen Pentium to give you a time frame), and I don't go for speed when I build systems anymore. I like my hardware and cable placement to be more of a work of art these days, and I really prefer to be standing on a hard surface than carpet when building.
  16. Ref where to ground to.

    !. I use the gound on an Power strip by inseting a Bannan plug (same as what goes in to a multimeter. or
    (2) Once the PSU is installed, it can be plug in to the power strip, then use an alligater clip to the case (Bare metal as paint is a insulator.

    Note power strip pluged into outlet and OFF.

    After class I might have some pic that I can pos
  17. Lord Gornak said:
    I definitely handle everything by the edges now
    In case there is any confusion, when I said "your sticky fingers" I meant people in general, not you specifically. I added a break to separate the last comment and added the word everyone. ;)
  18. Zorg, dun think Gornak was confused - he was in agreement with you ;-)
  19. I know, I just didn't want him or anyone else to think I was picking on him with the sticky fingers comment. On a second reading, I thought it could easily have been misconstrued.
  20. I dont know if it actually helps any, but in addition to touching the case occasionally, I keep a dryer sheet handy and rub my hands on it occasionally.

    It probably doesnt do anything, so I am more than likely effectively rubbing it for luck...lol.

    I've been extremely lucky in the past.....I have made the mistake on my first build of mounting the mobo to the case without standoffs....It wouldn't power on so I called my friend and walked him through what I did and realized what I did wrong..... :non: I pulled it all, put the standoffs in and surprisingly it booted and worked fine......

    Then I realized I was being a cheapass using parts from an old Compaq....and pulled 75% of it and replaced the used stuff with new faster parts...
  21. I do make it a point to wash my hands after eating a popsicle on a hot day before touching computer components, so no sticky fingers there. ;)
    I did understand what you meant Zorg, and actually in my early teens I did handle motherboards rather "roughly" and not just by the edges. A very valid point and one that any system builder should practice. Never broke a CPU pin back in those days though!
  22. Electronics is basically my living... never so far have i had a ESSD problem with any of my computer components. Building for 8 years. Watercooling for 3 years.

    So things never break, so i maybe lucky... 3rd build i was still pissed. Maybe a mild alc, but what the hell ,all my builds have worked even 4-5 years later in the form of hand me down's!
  23. Lord Gornak said:
    I do make it a point to wash my hands after eating a popsicle on a hot day before touching computer components, so no sticky fingers there. ;)
    :lol:
  24. guess I,m weird
    I do any of three things , and I leave the ps pluged in for a true ground!
  25. I once spilled milk onto a motherboard. Washed it off in the sink. Then put it out in the sun to dry. Worked just fine. :D
  26. I've built 4 PCs in the last 2 years and I do it on a carpet floor, I just touch the case and try to not move around too much.
    I've never had a hardware failure that could be due to ESD (matter of fact, only failure was a keyboard)

    ESD isn't that much of a hazzard I'd say.
  27. I set the case down in the middle of my kitchen floor, which is linoleum, touch the case occasionally more by accident than anything else, and build away. Never had an ESD failure. Have had a couple bad hard drives over the past 20 years and a couple bad ram sticks, but that wasn't from ESD. The parts that I mostly go through are keyboards and mice, but that's just wear and tear.
  28. So are pc parts more resilient these days? Is there ESD protection built into them or something? There are so many dire warnings that you can damage chips by just being within a foot of them if your not grounded and such... Of course no one's computer would work if it was that delicate...

    I found this on youtube... there are 4 parts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WHbcd4NGJQ

    Its a ESD training video from the old Apple computers. In part one or two it shows them testing ESD on a chip and it dies pretty easily...

    I'm guessing things have gotten quite a bit tougher and more resilient to ESD since the old days... am I correct?
  29. I touch the case with the power supply installed and plugged in so the case is grounded. I also only handle boards by the edges. If you don't touch any conductors or components on the boards you shouldn't have any ESD problems. If I had an anti-static mat I'd use it, but the wrist strap just gets in the way.
  30. Dagger
    How about a computer that was in a house that was totaled by fire. A coworker gave me her computer, the floppy face plate was half melted. Had to cut a lot of the case to get the motherboard, HD and PSU out. Forget the keyboard, mouse and CRT monitor.

    Disassembled PSU, used soapy water and tooth brush to clean black smoke residue from PSU and Mother board. Hosed off, followed by several rinses in distilled water followed by 100% Isopropanol. After two day dry and a backout. Assembled and the dag gum thing booted into windows (98).

    Closed_Deal. When I started in electronics Vacuum tubes were the norm - ESD whats that something to eat. Spent some 10 years teaching meteorological equipment complete circuit analysis and troubleshooting down to the component including radar systems. Ran the digital electronics dept for a community college and spent the last 18 years working at NASA, 2 satellite instuments, 5 yrs on the 737 research aircraft, and a year on the Navy F18 drop model project. Retired 4 yrs ago, Got asked to come back part time on a 3rd Satellete Instrument.

    Back on topic. Little extreme analogy - Be a he man, don't need that helmet to ride my BIKE - Never had a accident yet and I've riden for years and thousands of miles. Guess my friend should not have tried that last mile.

    First 21 years in electronics I NEVER wore a strap. After sitting through half a dozen ESD classes, and having to send off two failed IC's for analysis ( one was damaged due to ESD ) - What can I say for eight Bucks (Mine were free) why not - it's not that much of a hassle.

    I often wonder how many of the DOA's and flacky memory modules are a result of ESD. I do not think that QA at major companies are that bad.
  31. i hot swap video cards, with bare hands :)
  32. cruiseoveride said:
    i hot swap video cards, with bare hands :)
    Let us know when you change your mind.

    We want to hear the story. :lol:
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