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Is grounding my computer neccesary?

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October 10, 2008 8:13:42 AM

I have always wondered, how important is it to ground my computer?

My current computer (and monitor) is not grounded, and my older ones have never been either. I am using normal power cables without the extra grounding wire (if thats the correct word).

I havent seen any problems with any of my computers, and my current one is 2 years old. But people always say that its important to ground it.
But is there any specific reason? The only reason i know, is so it doesnt get damaged during a thunder storm.
October 10, 2008 8:26:05 AM

If your computer gets struck by lightning I don't think a puny grounding wire is going to help ;) 
October 10, 2008 8:28:30 AM

Well ok, but why do some people ground their computers then?
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October 10, 2008 8:52:51 AM

Probably paranoia :kaola:  Grounding is only useful in case you get current leaking into the chassis I think. Prevents injury from electrocution. If you want to prevent spikes from damaging it, you need a surge protector. Nothing affordable will protect you from lightning.
October 10, 2008 8:55:34 AM

So people ground their computers so there's no risk of getting electric shock from touching it? Even if its a very small risk?
October 10, 2008 8:58:21 AM

Well you'd need to have a faulty power supply or possible the motherboard touching a standoff to incur that risk. But it's likely that your PC wouldn't be working in either case, so you'd probably have it disconnected from power and your head inside the case looking for a problem. I'm not electrical engineer, but from my understanding of grounding it's just for safety purposes. You need to cut the power to prevent damage.
October 10, 2008 9:17:54 AM

rasmusp123 said:
So people ground their computers so there's no risk of getting electric shock from touching it? Even if its a very small risk?



Go on and take this very small risk. It's your life. There is a darn good reason why electrical devices are grounded...
October 10, 2008 9:56:13 AM

Fools the lot of you. By (UK) law the computer is grounded. The power supply has an earth connection that runs to the wall. and your mobo is connected to it throught the ATX socket and the screws into the case, and your computer case is grounded through the contact with the PSU case.

I think you are talking about grounding YOURSELF when you handle components. It discharges electrostatic build up so that you don't shock components and thereby kill them.

Why did anyone think that there are 3 pins on the PSU lead. I am not sure about USA laws and whether they are grounded. I would presume so as they use the same sockets on the PSU end.

If not then maybe some people choose to ground it manually. It would provide a faraday cage as well stopping electrical noise penetrating the case as well, and helping it to comply with FCC rules about eletro-magnetic interference.
October 10, 2008 10:02:13 AM

I live in Denmark and there's 2 different type of power cables. One with 3 pins, which is the grounded one. And one with 2pins, the non grounded ones which I am using.
October 10, 2008 10:14:18 AM

Fair play,

But all my points have been made. Faraday cage will make the PC operate in more robust environment. Convenient for grounding yourself before touching components. Law in some countries.
October 10, 2008 11:26:38 AM

I don't know about laws here, but every PC cable I've seen has 3 pins, including earth. In fact, most high-powered devices have 3 pins.
October 10, 2008 1:08:13 PM

the power for your comp is 12 volt. Not much chance of electrocution there
October 10, 2008 2:46:16 PM

Homeboy2 said:
the power for your comp is 12 volt. Not much chance of electrocution there



The voltage for your comp is primarily 110/220 Volts before it gets transformed to the other voltages. A malfunctioning or drenched in beer PSU provides the chance of a nice and prickling sensation. And given the average intelligence of the average amateur DIY guy there is a chance you've got a nickel stuck in your cirquit breaker as well.

Just so I've said it; electricity is not for children...
October 10, 2008 4:08:13 PM

Well, i quit pouring beer in my comp a long time ago, and i dont put nickels in the fuse box (a penny works better and its cheaper too) Lets put it this way, whens the last time you heard of of someone's comp electrocuting them? Possible, but highly unlikely. Even if you do get bit by 110 it rarely kills you or even causes lasting harm.
a c 137 ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 10, 2008 4:23:50 PM

Good link from Grimmy.
October 10, 2008 4:42:24 PM

Thanks Grimmy for the link.

@ homeboy: let's put it this way: I'm not loking forward to anyone getting hit by his mains. But it happens. That is why PC cases are grounded. And other devices, too. And that on the other hand is why it happens rarely. See the point? That is why it is done by default...
October 10, 2008 4:52:54 PM

Never advocated not grounding, I worked a couple years as a electrician helper. People are rarely killed by 110 UNLESS the current passes thru the heart stopping it, or you are wet. Been bit by 110 plenty yet im still here typing this. My point is its not really dangerous, if you read the link, it tells you the amps are 0.5 dangerous for your comp but not for you. Comprende?
October 10, 2008 4:53:58 PM

A ground will also get rid of any static electricity.
October 10, 2008 4:58:56 PM

I've found the best way to ground the PC, is to use a large tupperware dish with about 1.5inches of potting soil.

Be sure to not moisten the potting soil.
It's not a plant...........
October 10, 2008 5:16:57 PM

MMM I never seen a computer thats not grounded.

Homeboy is right. 110 probably isn't gonna kill you. It could happen stranger things have, but there probably has to be an underlying cause. I've also been zaped by 110 quite a bit when working on rv's. By simply forgetting to kill the breaker before working on the outlets lol. It gives quite the tingling, but nothing deadly.
October 10, 2008 5:54:43 PM

^^ Yeah, high amps will do you in pretty quickly though :-)

Not all electrics are earthed (grounded) in the UK. Some devices are double insulated (whatever that means) so the earth pin is plastic (e.g. mobile phone chargers) as they do not need it.
October 10, 2008 5:57:21 PM

Damn forum, can't edit, GRRR

Don't forget if you work inside your pc you should ground yourself this is easy to do, touch a radiator, rub a balloon against a nylon carpet etc.....
a c 121 ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 10, 2008 6:16:45 PM

+1 @DXrick. Static kills computers; ground it away.
a b ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 10, 2008 7:43:15 PM

Here in the states, unless it has changed, more people are electricuted by 110/120 than any other voltage.

A little history. Reason for the 3rd wire ground requirement. When many homes only had to wire outlets the nuetral wire was tied to the case (ie refrid/toaster). If the hot / nuetral was revearsed at the out let, the case became hot. You knew this as you got that "tingle" when you touched the appliance - The problem was if you happened to have one hand on the water tap, or were touching a 2nd appliance. With a Ground wire, you just blow a fuse when hot/neutral wire are revearsed and both wires go to ground.

As previouely pointed out, the ground on the case provides an EMI shield which is benificial.

Note: (In the States) The neutral wires is also ground, just a question of where it is tied to earth ground

For Homeboy - Like you I have been hit by 110 on MANY times, Also by the High voltage on a color CRT (25 KV), and have been set on the floor by the Horizonal flyback circuit in CRT TV's. HOWEVER I don't think it is a good idea to minimze the danger.

October 10, 2008 9:02:07 PM

Ok.. 110v at the case can either shock you.. or it can cause a fire if it has a ground to reach.. If your PS is working right, this shouldnt happen.. However if it goes poof when your not watching then the fire is your problem.

sure 110 stings.. and can nail you in the right circumstances.. but fire is the issue. As far as the farraday cage thing goes.. bah...

Really though.. it's the 21st century.. ground the outlet and be done with it..
October 12, 2008 6:05:30 PM

I dont advocate sticking your finger in a socket for funsies chief, but that stat about people getting killed from 110 is misleading, the reason more people are killed from 110 than high voltage is because few people are exposed to high voltage. Like i said before 110 wont ordinarily kill you unless it flows across your heart or you are wet . High voltage on the other hand will almost always kill you and if it doesnt unlike 110 it will severely injure you.
a b ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 13, 2008 4:57:22 AM

Homeboy2
First - I don't recommend testing 110 with finger. Yes some electricians do - The use their Fingernail.

2nd - Yes you are correct about Not as many exposed to HV. But also people dealing with HV are more careful and DON'T use Fingers as a voltmeter.

3rd - Yes, current flowing from one hand across the heart on it's way to the other hand is more deadly - Reason you only stick one hand in when making a measurement. But equally important is where the contact is mad, ie at the end of your finger, or at your palm. At the end of finger your muscles contract pulling your arm away. When the contact point is the palm your muscles cause your hand to contract, and relax, at a 60 Hz (50 Hz in England and CPS for us oldtimers) rate. This prevents removal of Voltage, which if not removed results in death.

It is not the voltage that kills, It's the current, and length of time, that kills.

October 13, 2008 5:41:17 AM

I know chief, i took electrical courses, never used my finger as a tester. Never heard of anyone testing for high voltage with their finger, least not living to tell about it.
i know about the one hand in the pocket deal too, 110 usually WON'T cause your muscles to contract, whereas 220 will.
to wrap this up. My main point was and remains that the chances of a comp elotrocuting you is highly unlikely and the reason for grounding is mainly to protect the equipment. If anyone has ever heard of someone killed by their comp let me know.
October 13, 2008 7:40:37 AM

Thats another point well made. UK uses 220-240V as its mains supply.

btw double insulated is for devices that have extensive unremovable insulation moulded around all electric components. Hairdryers for example.
a b ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 14, 2008 4:32:26 AM

Homeboy
Yes voltage, AC or DC will cause muscles to contract!!!
(1) biology - demo, using voltage (9 V battery) to move frog leg.
(2) electro simulation. The use of pulsing current (voltage) to exercise muscles. My wife is getting this after back surgery. (I think there called a tens unit or something like that.


110 AC will sure as H3LL make your muscles contract - big time!! You don't say ouch, let me move my hand - it's a retraction of the muscles right forcefull I might add..

You have one thing right, the LOW voltages found in the computer (+/- 5V and +/- 12V are not going to Kill anyone. The only place 110 (or 220) are found is inside the PSU. Please NOTE iether/or will kill and a fried corpse could care less which voltage it was. Both will do the job, it's just 220 does it faster. The old quich way to heat a hot dog - a 10 penny nail at each end and 110 VAC.

americanbrian - The difference between US and England wiring is that england uses a single phase 220 VAC (peak E = 311 V) Hot, a nuetral, and a ground. The US use two phase Hot that are 180 degress out of phase ( the two Hots provide 220 volts ), then we also have the nuetral and ground wire. Aprox 1/2 of the house is wired to one phase while the other half is wired to the opposite phase Theoritically if they were balanced no current would flow thru the nuetral line,
October 14, 2008 5:23:49 PM

to rephrase , while 110 will cause muscles to contract , usually not enough so you cant let go in contrast to 220
Thanks for the tip about the 10 penny nails, i wont stick one in my head and one in my foot and hook it up to 110
a b ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 15, 2008 4:01:28 AM

Let me know what "electrical" school you went to, Need to make sure I don't recommned it.
October 15, 2008 7:55:13 AM

What "Skool" do you rekommend? At the one i went to you would have to take remedial English then you could take electrical. :kaola: 
a b C Monitor
October 15, 2008 8:39:31 AM

RetiredChief said:


americanbrian - The difference between US and England wiring is that england uses a single phase 220 VAC (peak E = 311 V) Hot, a nuetral, and a ground. The US use two phase Hot that are 180 degress out of phase ( the two Hots provide 220 volts ), then we also have the nuetral and ground wire. Aprox 1/2 of the house is wired to one phase while the other half is wired to the opposite phase Theoritically if they were balanced no current would flow thru the nuetral line,

You might want to look up 3 phase power. It's what the entire US is actually using.
a b ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 16, 2008 3:42:33 AM

cji
Yes there is many cases where 3 Phase power is used (derived from Delta, or wye configuration) primarily electrical systems requiring Large power. When viewed on O'scope you can tell as the voltages are 120 degress apart and require 3, or 4 wires not counting earth ground.. However; Power supplied to homes is 180 degress.

I know my spelling is bad, always has been and could care less, besides for work or important documents - there are word checker.
I get paid for my electronic knowlege and ability
October 16, 2008 10:43:03 AM

Almost all electrical distribution is 3 Ph. as thats how it comes out of the generators.

however, we are starting to get away from the question being asked. We obviously all know why computers have a ground wire.

I don't feel we need to start nitpicking each other.
a b ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 16, 2008 4:40:38 PM

Last reply to this tread – My primary beef is “120 VAC is NOT dangerous.

Apology for side track on Phase.
MY Error -What I called 2 Phase (which is 90 degrees out of phase) is properly called Split phase. I only point this out from a safety standpoint – In an improper wire configuration you could get zapped by 240 even though the supply voltage is 120 (ie by touching the hot sides of the two
Opposite hots). Again, one of the reasons for adopting earth grounding requirements

I stand by – individual residences have split phase.
Most Hot water heaters and electric ranges in homes are 240 VAC NOT 208.

Quote (wkipedia)
Three-wire, 120/240 volt single phase power used in the USA and Canada is sometimes incorrectly called "two-phase". The proper term is split phase or 3-wire single-phase.

Most household loads are single phase. In North America and some other countries, three phase power generally does not enter homes. Even in areas where it does, it is typically split out at the main distribution board.
High power systems, say, hundreds of kVA or larger, are nearly always three phase.
In North America, individual residences and small commercial buildings with services up to about 100 kV•A (417 amperes at 240 volts) will usually have three-wire single-phase distribution,
Attempts to use the more common 120/240 V equipment intended for three-wire single-phase distribution may result in poor performance since 240 V heating equipment will only produce 75% of its rating when operated at 208 V.
End Qote
Anonymous
a b ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 19, 2011 1:14:33 PM

randomizer said:
I don't know about laws here, but every PC cable I've seen has 3 pins, including earth. In fact, most high-powered devices have 3 pins.

Yeah, and how many wires has the power socket in your wall. I can answer you - only 2. In my house all socaets have Ground but it is simply not connected to anyyhing.
a c 271 ) Power supply
a b C Monitor
October 19, 2011 10:21:44 PM

This topic has been closed by Hunter315
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