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How do I avoid Static during build

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January 28, 2009 11:47:07 AM

Hi, Im building my new i7 system this weekend and am worried about static ruining it,
any advice on how to avoid it?

More about : avoid static build

January 28, 2009 12:02:32 PM

Either get an anti-static wrist strap ($5) or just hold the side of the case while you work with the other hand.

Try to do the work on a non-carpeted area to avoid building up static as well.
January 28, 2009 12:05:29 PM

Use an anti-static wrist band..... It is a wristband with a metallic contact on it and a wire on it that attaches to a ground..... (A grounded metal object) You can pick one up @ Newegg or a lot of computer shops........ Google it! : Anti-static wristband
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January 28, 2009 12:24:12 PM

In my experience you can just forget about static when building PC's for yourself. Any charge that could damage a chip would get distributed over the whole PCB and thus be rendered harmless.
I have built a few dozen machines so far and never had any problems. As long as you're not sliding over the carpet with your cat pelt slippers you're fine...
January 28, 2009 12:27:53 PM

1. Wear an anti-static wrist strap, attached to something grounded, such as your PSU (plugged into a grounded outlet, but with the switch OFF so there's no +5VSB).
2. There is carpet in every room of my house (except the bathrooms). I take my shoes and socks off when building to avoid static build up.
3. Do not sit in a standard office chair with casters. Those things pick up LOTS of static.
4. To minimize static on carpet in general, mist with a mix of fabric softener cut 1:4 with water.
5. I know she'll miss you, but don't let Fluffy into the room with you when you're building.
January 28, 2009 12:57:32 PM

Ditch the fuzzy slippers....But really static won't really have an effect, just use a wrist band or stand on an area that is grounded/touch the side of the case (non painted part) and work with other hand. I've never had any problems with static, except it's possible I did fry one piece of ram, but it could have been DOA too.
January 28, 2009 1:27:02 PM

It might be too expensive or too much of a hassle. But I have an anti-static mat that is on the floor under my desk. It looks just like an office floor mat but it has a ground wire on it. An added benefit it makes it much easier for my chair to roll around an protects the carpet from coffee spills and donut crumbs.
January 28, 2009 1:34:09 PM

Thanks for the advice i will take it into consideration :) 

January 28, 2009 4:15:34 PM

I almost hate to respond as I usually catch flack, but here goes.

Jtt283 and Average Joe gave very good responses. I too have an antistatic mat that I place on a table and ground to the Ground outlet of my power strip and I ALWAYS use an antistatic strap ( which has a 1 megohm resistance between the bracelet and the wire.

1) This time of the year (northern hemisphere) the humidity is very low, at or
below 30%. Very conducive to static build up.
2) You can have several HUNDRED volts and never know it.
3) You do not even need to touch a circuit card in order to transfer a charge
that can damage an IC.

To give an idea (A little draconian but as an example) when working on a satellite instrument (the ones I work on are generally around 10 Million dollars). You have to have a ground strap on if you are within 1 meter of the instrument even if not touching. – NOT advancing this – just stating fact. If the humidly is below 30% then a de-ionizer must be used. Forget it they are TOO expensive and are regulated as they contain a radioactive isotope.

While $10 mil is a little higher than what you pay for your system (cards) Why any one would not advocate wearing a $10 strap is beyond me. Just do a little research into ESD, you might re-evaluate your stand. I’m stuck – I get to sit through those boring annual ESD classes –UGH!

Keep in mind, it is very difficult to assemble a computer while keeping one hand on the case, and as the old saying goes – I didn’t intend to touch that exposed circuit.
January 28, 2009 4:31:28 PM

Wear cotton clothing . No synthetics or wool .

Work in a room with a wooden floor , preferably on a wooden table .

If you have that work space , then an anti-static strap isnt needed . Just touch the case before you pic up components .

Once parts are out of their bags only put them back down on that bag .


Generally the mb is out first so lay down the foam thats usually in the box as packing and then the static bag and then rest the mb on that .
Install the cpu , heatsink and RAM before installing in the case
January 28, 2009 5:59:33 PM

A static discharge so small you cant even feel it is enuf to render any of your hardware unusable. Make sure to touch your PSU and case frequently during the build. What I like to do is lay all of my parts out, sit/kneel next to the PC, ground myself, then not move until Im done.
January 28, 2009 6:28:35 PM

Outlander is correct thats what I do as well cotton doesn't build static lots of synthetics will build their own charge when rubbed together.
January 29, 2009 2:29:38 AM

You should at the very least discharge yourself by touching the chassis (not the case, or painted areas, but the metal supports inside your case) before reaching your big man ape hands into your machine or groping other components.

Anyone who tells you otherwise really doesn't know what they're talking about, and isn't doing you any favors.

I like the removal of shoes and socks idea, which I used previously. Now I have a workshop in the garage, so no carpet.
January 29, 2009 4:18:42 AM

I cant believe how many people are saying totally wrong things here. Lol.

You get a nearly full static discharge by touching any bare metal. This includes the bare aluminum or steel chassis that you're working from.

Removing shoes and socks doesnt matter, if there's static buildup, it will still transfer.

Static discharge into electronic components is very dangerous. Static electricity has an extremely low amprege (Like 0.000 range. :p ), but the volts can be through the roof! (In one electronics class I spoke at, at the local community college we were getting measures of 750+volts from static)

Do NOT place your components back onto the empty static bag. They tend to be slightly conductive, so your safest bet is a bare wooden desk.

And the static strap is seriously just a waste of 10 dollars. I've been doing hardware level building and repair for 6 years, and I know one of the men I worked under in uni did it since 1995, and I've never experienced a problem with static damage.
January 29, 2009 6:45:52 AM

curnel_D said:
I cant believe how many people are saying totally wrong things here. Lol.

You get a nearly full static discharge by touching any bare metal. This includes the bare aluminum or steel chassis that you're working from.

Removing shoes and socks doesnt matter, if there's static buildup, it will still transfer.

Static discharge into electronic components is very dangerous. Static electricity has an extremely low amprege (Like 0.000 range. :p ), but the volts can be through the roof! (In one electronics class I spoke at, at the local community college we were getting measures of 750+volts from static)

Do NOT place your components back onto the empty static bag. They tend to be slightly conductive, so your safest bet is a bare wooden desk.

And the static strap is seriously just a waste of 10 dollars. I've been doing hardware level building and repair for 6 years, and I know one of the men I worked under in uni did it since 1995, and I've never experienced a problem with static damage.


I cant believe how many people are saying totally wrong things here. Lol.

Antistatic bags are antistatic BECAUSE they are slightly conductive . Its because there is no complete circuit that the electricity is STATIC . Laying the mb on the bag protects it .

Not wearing socks and shoes could stop static building in the first place . Socks with nylon in them on a wool carpet can build up a decent charge very quickly so taking them off could help . I prefer the wooden floor option .

I also build systems with out an antistatic strap . But for most people it adds another layer of protection .




January 29, 2009 7:31:01 AM

Antistatic bags, because they are slightly conductive, can transfer electrons from what is seemingly plastic to your motherboard, if the current is strong enough. This is a big possibility while working with open electronics. (More-so in my feild, I know, but it still applies)

No one that I know randomly works in their socks. And I was talking about people suggesting that you take off your shoes and socks both. Bare feet arent any better than shoes unless you're on a grounded mat. (And besides that, almost all carpets are nylon anyways.)

And in my view, suggesting that people spend 10-15 dollars on another 'layer of protection' makes about as much sense as making a suggestion to a race car driver to invest in the conventional shoulder strap seatbelt, in addition to his 5-point harness belts.
January 29, 2009 8:51:07 AM

I challenge you to scuff across a carpet in bare feet and build up any kind of static charge. In my house, I do not have the option of building in a non-carpeted room; I don't consider the bathroom a viable place to build. There are other sources of static as well, but I don't worry about the little walking I might do once I start.
January 29, 2009 3:00:09 PM

Curnel _d Your understanding of antistatic materials is slightly in error. The outside of the bag is static dissipative, while the inside of the bag is non- conductive. This means that the charge is spread out on the outside, which reduces the potential difference. Very similar to an antistatic mat. The non conductive inside then prevents the transfer to the ESD sensitive object inside the bag.

Strongly disagree on your philosophy for not using a “CHEAP” strap as they do reduces the possibility of ESD.

At one point in time ESD was the largest single reason for returns of ESD sensitive components. Another problem is that it does not always result in immediate failure, but more often causes circuit degradation and a “Walking Dead” Fails before it’s time.
Quoted excerpts Ref:

www.radio-electronics.com/info/electronics-design/esd/w...

Walking on a vinyl floor, approx 10Kv, across a nylon carpet, approx 30 Kv. The smallest discharge that can be felt, approx 5Kv. (My words – Hmm that means I can transfer 1 KV and NEVER know it.

Here is an abbreviated list of materials and the type of charge and relative degree of Static buildup. ie bare skin and wood - but not as great as say skin and polyester NOTE _ Just moving your body with a cotton shirt can produce a potential difference. This is much worst with low humidity. Body ends up positive and wood ends up negative. The Electron volts is determined by how far apart they are in the table. Not sure where air is, but it should have been listed.

Positive charge

Skin
Hair
Wool
Silk
Paper
Cotton
Wood
Rubber
Rayon
Polyester
Polythene
Pvc
Teflon

Negative Charge
January 30, 2009 12:43:44 AM

Here's my experience of ESD and sensitive components. I took electronics for two years and never had a component fail. The only thing we were doing to prevent static was touching a radiator - since it's grounded. We were handling all electronic - I'd love to say what but i honestly dont remember - without any other precautions. So long as you ground yourself, and stick to holding the edges of your components, you should be fine.
When I've pulled my pc apart, I usually ground myself quite frequently. The wrist band does the same job, just its 'always on'. So long as your not rolling around on a carpeted floor, or doing the pat your head and rub you belly thing before going for your shiney new components you should be fine without the band, although it will offer piece of mind.

Whatever you decide, good luck with your build and I hope you enjoy the system, I am envious!
January 30, 2009 10:50:08 AM

Simply install the PSU into the case, plug it in.
Touch the case every once in a while during the build, which you are going to do anyway no mattter what you do. All will be fine.
Of course, through all the technical nonsense posted in thread, it makes good sense to build off the carpet, like on the kitchen table. It also is a good idea not to wear rubber soled shoes.
But I think that a lot of people over-emphasis the chance of static ruining your build.
Of course, it CAN happen, but I would guess....and I am sure most people will agree, that the chance of damaging anything with static during your build is extremely remote. I know lots of people who build, I build all the time, and I have never, ever heard of anyone damaging anything during a build because of static.
750 volts-smolts. Volts are nothing without amperage. Volts don't kill people, or parts, it is amperage that does damage.
And, after all, we have to keep the anti-static wrist band makers working in todays tough economy, so go ahead and buy one if you feel the need to spend some money over this nonsense.
January 30, 2009 12:43:10 PM

curnel_D said:
Lol, and this was patented in 1995. :p 



Yes, but have you seen them for sale. I can just imagine someone putting on these special shoes ever time they opened thier case.

Therefore, thats my advice and I'm sticking too it. .

January 30, 2009 12:51:24 PM

The shoes are not that special ..... Google them..... they are just "normal shoes" with a special sole composition ....... They even sell them at Wal-Mart .....
!