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Staticy cloth used to wipe mobo & CPU!

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April 9, 2011 1:30:28 PM

I am in the process of rebuilding my PC, and I had my motherboard with the CPU in the socket on the table. The table was a bit dusty so I decided to dust it with a cloth. Unfortunately the cloth I used was one of those microfibre synthetic cloths, and I dusted the table and under the mobo and CPU. Only afterwards did I realize that I could have caused some static damage to the components.

I am really worried now. I don't care about the motherboard because I am replacing it, but do you think I damaged my CPU by dusting it with a possibly staticy cloth?

April 9, 2011 1:40:01 PM

Nah.Cpu have anti staic coating.I use a paint brush to clean my gpu.Type used in water coloring.
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April 9, 2011 1:41:46 PM

If you didn't see, hear, or feel a static discharge, I wouldn't worry to much about it! You should be good to go upon the re-boot (granted you reinstall everything back into the case correctly).
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April 9, 2011 2:39:21 PM

If you weren't grounded then you did damage. End of story. Whether that damage was enough to 'break it' will remain to be seen.

I was once at a training course with Motorola and to emphasize the importance of proper ESD procedure they showed us a circuit board under a microscope. Then they passed the board around the class. These were trained electronic technicians who all should know how to handle a circuit board but when they placed the board back under the microscope it was pitted and cratered. I was amazed.
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April 9, 2011 3:03:36 PM

Whenever i touch pc components i make sure i stand on the bare floor with bare feet.So that i can properly ground myself.
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April 9, 2011 10:48:09 PM

Your floor is not grounded. Wood is not a conductor (unless its really wet) and neither is concrete. You need a groundstrap connecting you to the ground plug of your recepticle in your house.
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April 9, 2011 10:56:56 PM

so you dusted the table, not the motherboard? i don't see the problem then. It is pretty sill to dust a cpu with a cloth, i dont even see how it can get dusty since its always covered with a heatsink....
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April 9, 2011 11:02:09 PM

I'm going to throw a wrench into everyone's gears and say that you probably didn't cause damage to any severe extent - probably none at all. Unless your motherboard was grounded directly to your table in order to give a large enough charge difference, then you should be fine.

I've never once used a wrist strap or any form of grounding device. Never. In all reality, most modern motherboards are designed to handle that form of discharge and direct it straight to a ground point, unless the discharge is directly onto a critical or sensitive component. Now, I'm not saying that you should try this. I'm just saying that I've personally never had a single damaged component, and so you should have no problems whatsoever with just cleaning a part. Heck, I'd be more worried about a lot of other things going wrong before static shock.

Just my opinion.

:D 
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April 9, 2011 11:04:31 PM

You just lay your motherboard on the table??

You should always lay the motherboard on top of the static bag on top of the mobo box.
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April 9, 2011 11:10:57 PM

Someguy, Do you think your doorknob is grounded? No its not. Then why are you getting zapped? Its because the charges are equalizing. Grounding just insures the charge goes directly to ground and not some other path.
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April 9, 2011 11:18:59 PM

I never said it wasn't. Chances are, though, that his motherboard plus table aren't going to equalize as strongly as a metallic doorknob, especially since he was only wiping it with a towel which was in contact with the object for most of the duration. After the initial contact, it probably would have been a gradual, slow drain into the component instead of an instantaneous discharge akin to grabbing a doorknob after charging yourself. Granted, I'm not an electrical expert, but I know enough to be pretty sure that this should be the case. Yeah, my example was a bit extreme... sorry... :??: 
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April 10, 2011 7:55:22 AM

My floor is made up of tiles.Of course it is grounded .That's why i get a shock when i touch a bare electrical wire with my feet grounded on the floor.
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April 10, 2011 2:07:54 PM

WOW

(1) Probably no damage.

Now for the Wows
(1) "Never use a wrist strap" - Does NOT understand Electronics and ESD, so ignore
(2)"If you didn't see, hear, or feel a static discharge, I wouldn't worry too much about it!"
NOT true. It takes around 1kV before you feel a static discharge. If my memory is correct Computer components generally operate at +12 and lower voltage. A couple of hundred volts can definitely cause a problem and you will never know that you had a 100 volt charge.. May not cause a dead component, by may create a walking wounded component. And internal protection circuits provide limited protection.

General info
(1) The amount of static build-up depends on the relationship of the two materials. Will have to find the link that shows this relationship. But it explains why too NON-conductors can have a build-up - depends on how far apart they are.
(2) Amount of static build-up and ability to dissipate is very dependent on relative humidity (RH). RH of 30 % is very conducive to Electrostatic build-up, but 20% is MUCH worst. Hello winter time.
(3) As long as you do not touch the pins, no problem. - is also a myth. The EH field surrounding a static charge can damage a component without even touching it, just the proximity
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April 10, 2011 5:06:41 PM

RetiredChief said:
WOW

(1) Probably no damage.

Now for the Wows
(1) "Never use a wrist strap" - Does NOT understand Electronics and ESD, so ignore
(2)"If you didn't see, hear, or feel a static discharge, I wouldn't worry too much about it!"
NOT true. It takes around 1kV before you feel a static discharge. If my memory is correct Computer components generally operate at +12 and lower voltage. A couple of hundred volts can definitely cause a problem and you will never know that you had a 100 volt charge.. May not cause a dead component, by may create a walking wounded component. And internal protection circuits provide limited protection.

General info
(1) The amount of static build-up depends on the relationship of the two materials. Will have to find the link that shows this relationship. But it explains why too NON-conductors can have a build-up - depends on how far apart they are.
(2) Amount of static build-up and ability to dissipate is very dependent on relative humidity (RH). RH of 30 % is very conducive to Electrostatic build-up, but 20% is MUCH worst. Hello winter time.
(3) As long as you do not touch the pins, no problem. - is also a myth. The EH field surrounding a static charge can damage a component without even touching it, just the proximity


First of all, I never said not to use a wrist strap. They're generally a good idea. I just said that I personally have never felt like wasting money one one, and have seen no consequences whatsoever. Yes, I do understand electronics and ESD. I just don't get why people make such a big deal about ESD wrist straps when all you have to do is ground yourself to something before you start working. Just be careful and you don't have anything to worry about. I'm not saying you're wrong, but people these days act like ESD is an ungodly force that will wreck your whole system if you don't buy a wrist strap. That's what I disagree with. Being careful around your components and taking a second to ground yourself is all it ever took for all of my builds over the years.

Alright... either way, our opinions are our own. The point to this whole thing is that he probably didn't damage his components.
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April 10, 2011 5:54:47 PM

Maybe I go a little overboard, this may be due the the number of films I’ve set thru and the demonstrations. I know you are not alone in your believe that touching ground then proceed to handle that gpu, ssd or Memory module while installing is all that is needed. During the summer months (RH >60%) that may be OK (I still don’t), but during the winter (RH < 35%) it is not an acceptable.
I often wonder what percentage of the DOAs and components that fail after a relatively short time (1 week -> 1 Year) are in fact due to ESD. This excludes items that have a manuf defect – ie Bad firmware, incorrect design ect.
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April 10, 2011 6:18:53 PM

Very true. Sorry for my bit of a ranting mood today... :D  It's probably a lot better to go overboard than it is to not do anything at all.
Yeah, I wonder about that, too... I'm sure a lot of people have been baffled when their new GPU died a week after they installed in thirty seconds because they wanted to try it out as soon as they possibly could. That right there is probably the number one killer of new components, sadly enough, excluding defects like you said. It always kills me to hear about people that just shove their systems together in a hurry...
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April 10, 2011 7:51:37 PM

When I got in to electronics, if someone said "What out for ESD" I would have taken that as look - an Especially Sexy Doll. Not much problems with vacuum Tubes and a low voltage power suppy was 100->300 volts.
Take care.
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April 11, 2011 8:56:27 AM

I've never damaged a computer by ESD before, even if I never grounded myself. I use a paintbrush to dust off the insides of my PC, including the motherboard and GPU. No problems so far.

Most likely, you didn't do any damage. Just put that thing back together and boot.
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