Static Electricity can damage your computer



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What is Static Electricity? It is the accumulation of electrical charges in an object.

ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) is the term used to describe the transfer of static electricity from one object to another.

As we go about our daily lives, we gather certain amounts of electrostatic charge. This happens mostly in low humidity areas; moreso, in winter and in dry seasons.

Our bodies also produce static electricity which is caused by excess electrons (negatively charged particles) being formed especially when we walk on carpeting.

Click here to view antistatic products. icon

Although you may not be able to detect the static electricity you generate, it is always present. You can transfer it from your body to computer components just by touching them!

I am sure that sometimes after walking on carpeting and touching door knobs, you feel a slight electrical shock.... that is Static Electricity!

Should I be concerned about Static Electricity when building my computer?

Your sensitive computer components such as the Processor (CPU), hard drive, memory, main board chips and expansion cards could be severely damaged.

Static Electricity can damage your computer components

Whenever you open your computer and expose your components, you run the risk of damaging your computer system with static electricity which has been built up by your body.

Your computer components inside your case (especially your hard drive) are prone to being affected by ElectroStatic Discharge.

It is very possible for you to be damaging your sensitve electronic components inside your case from ElectroSatic Discharge without knowing it.

If you felt a discharge, it possibly was more than 2,000 volts. A discharge as low as 200 volts can destroy your computer chip.

It is possible that this damage might not be noticeable immediately. Your components might just start a degradation process that slowly kills your computer parts. You could (for example) start getting intermittent breakdowns until your computer stops functioning properly.

Protect your computer components against ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD)

To prevent damage to your sensitive electronic components in your system from ElectroStatic Discharge, you should:

  • Shut down your computer and turn off the switch on your surge protector leaving the surge protector plugged in so that it will be grounded.

  • Before touching any of the components inside your case, you should ground yourself to discharge any static buildup.

  • Make sure to discharge the static electricity by touching the metal chassis whilst wearing an antistatic wrist strap.

  • Antistatic Wrist Strap - Worn to protect your delicate computer components from static electricity damage. Click here to view some antistatic wrist straps. icon

  • Any static electrical charge that builds up on your body is then immediately transferred to ground.

  • Handle your expansion cards by their edges.

  • Do not do any work inside your computer while standing on carpet.

  • You should leave your components in their antistatic bags that you purchased them in until you are ready to use them since, placing them outside of their bags, make them susceptible to ESD. Click here to get some antistatic bags iconor you can click here to purchase the Cables Unlimited 10-Inch x 12-Inch Metalized Anti-Static Bags - 10 Pack.

  • Do not work on your computer in cold, dry conditions since this encourages static electricity. You should try to raise the humidity to between 50 to 60%.

  • Do not wear woolen or nylon clothing while working on or repairing your computer.

  • Keep your clothing away from drives, boards, memory, etc. Clothing could possibly be electrically charged, especially when it is dry and cold.

  • Leave your PC plugged into an AC outlet with the power switch turned off. This places ground on the metal case.

    You would then have to work with one hand always touching a metal part of the case. ElectroStatic Discharge buildup would then be immediately grounded just like it would with an antistatic wrist strap.

    I would not recommend this method since it is very impractical; instead, protect your computer components from static electricity by using an antistatic wrist strap.

Antistatic Wrist Strap:
When working inside a computer case, one of the most important tools that you should have available is an antistatic wrist strap.
Click here to view some antistatic wrist straps. icon

Damage to your computer can be prevented if you use an antistatic wrist strap. This strap fits on your wrist (See Diagram A) while working on your computer components and has a wire attachment with an alligator clip which is connected to your case.

An anti-static wrist strap being used to prevent static electricity damage to your computer components

A CPU Heat Sink being installed

Antistatic Bag:
If you are removing a component for an extended period of time while you are building your computer, you should store the component in an antistatic bag.

You should try to keep some of these bags to put your expansion cards and computer parts in while working on your computer. Click here to get some antistatic bags iconor you can click here to purchase the Cables Unlimited 10-Inch x 12-Inch Metalized Anti-Static Bags - 10 Pack.

Conclusion

Static Electricity is the No.1 cause of damage to internal computer parts. You should always use an antistatic wrist strap or some other method of preventing ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) when working on your computer to prevent damage to the components.



If you would like to learn how to Build Your Own Cheap Computer, browse here for all the steps in the tutorial.

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