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ESD Prevention

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December 19, 2010 6:10:19 PM

I will be building a PC soon (my first) and I would like some suggestions on how to prevent Static Electricity from ruining my parts. It is cold and dry where I live and I have read that Static Electricity can be a problem in those conditions. I willl be working on a hard wood floor when building so that should really help with preventing static build up. Should I install the PSU and plug it in and turn it off via the power switch? I know that if I maintain contact with the case I should be ok but I dont know if I need it to be plugged in. I was wondering if I could attach a wire to the case and then to myself (Psu unplugged, Im am new but not stupid :non:  ) if that would be enough , that way I could have constant contact with the case. I also read that spraying water mist into the air a few minutes before building could also help but I am not sure about that one. Thanks.

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December 19, 2010 7:18:14 PM

Well thats why im asking, i dont want to purchase an anti static strap if I dont need one.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 19, 2010 8:19:43 PM

You should be fine as long as you discharge any static you may have generated on a metal object that is touching the ground. I've never heard of anybody building a computer in normal conditions that required an anti-static strap.
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a c 82 B Homebuilt system
December 20, 2010 2:35:46 AM

It never hurts to wear an anti-static strap. In my opinion about half of items that are sent back as DOA were killed by static when the package was opened. This is especially true for motherboards and RAM. I have actually killed a motherboard with static on a cold dry day and I never want to do that again let me tell you. So maybe I am extra careful but I wear one unless it is humid or raining.
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December 20, 2010 1:51:12 PM

Can someone give me some feedback on the things I posted? PSU plugged in (power switch off) and touching case? PSU unplugged and wire connecting me to case to ensure constant contact? Spraying water mist in air before building?
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2010 11:49:18 AM

Of the three things, Number 1 is the best from an ESD standpoint, but the safety sucks. Even with the PSU turned off, even with all of the high voltage shielded in a metal box (PSU), you still have your hands inside equipment that is plugged into the wall.

No. 2 really provides a minimal amount of protection. And No. 3? I do not like spraying water - even as a mist - around electronics.

I work on a grounded sheet of antistatic foam.


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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2010 4:48:29 PM

(1) Highly recommend the ESD wrist strap. If RH under 30%, the ability to generate a Electrostatic charge Jumps considerably. Remember it takes generally > 1KV to draw an arc.

(2) A ESD strap has a built in 1 meg ohm resistor

(3) The ESD strap should go to ground. I normally plug it into the ROUND hole on a surge protector (That is plugged in and off), or to the computer case with PSU installed, plugged in and rocker switch on PSU turned off. (Normally I totally agree with jsc, But here I do disagree - need the connection to earth ground otherwise you are simply transfering your charge to the case. Do agree with jsc on mist spray, but then I do run a humidifier in the winter time - try to keep RH above 40%, not only does it decreases the problem with ESD (NOT eiliminate it), but also healthier.

Just completed my ESD re-cert training, for the upteen time - ugh - boooring.
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December 22, 2010 1:49:19 AM

I will building my pc in my bedroom next to a window, what if i ran a wire out the window and connected it to a metal pole in the ground and then connect the other end to my wrist. Would that ensure I am grounded and will be safe from static damage?
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2010 12:27:58 PM

Hey, Chief, nothing to disagree with on #2:
"No. 2 really provides a minimal amount of protection."

And using a dehumidifier is not the same as spraying a water mist around the computer.
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December 22, 2010 3:48:58 PM

What do you guys think of my most recent question? Will connecting myself to an outside ground work?
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a c 82 B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2010 4:55:20 PM

It should but why not just get an anti-static mat like jsc uses or a wriststrap like I use? Seems like you are making life hard on yourself. :p 
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December 22, 2010 5:46:39 PM

The wire is free and I have all that I would need. Plus I dont want to spend money on a strap and shipping to get it by christmas if I can really live with out it. Honestly it is no big deal for me as long as I know it will work. Can anyone else confirm this will work?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2010 6:35:19 PM

The wire to a rod in the ground would work (not my recommendation), You loose the safety of the 1 meg ohm resistor built into the strap (from shock if you touch a voltage source). If you are saving money, take an ould three prong AC plug and just attach one wire to the ROUND pin and plug it in to an outlet. Should first verify that outlet is good - Cheap way to do that is with an old lamp. Should lite when two wires are connected to the two flat pins, and should lite if you connect the "Hot" side to the earth ground (Round pin). A real cheap test from wallmart would be a better idea.
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December 22, 2010 6:44:55 PM

So if I use the metal rod in the ground idea and leave the psu unplugged when installing pc components I should be safe from destroying anything from static?
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December 23, 2010 1:37:29 AM

Can anyone confirm for sure that doing this with out the psu being plugged in will protect the components from static electricity during installation?
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