Electrostatic Discharge When Building a PC

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Hello everyone

First time building a computer and I have a few concerns I want to clear before starting

Would it be safe to build my computer on a glass table with a metal frame, a wooden table or just on the floor?

What can I do about ESD?

Is it enough to just touch the back of my case before handling any computer parts ? I don't have any carpeting and don't experience a static shock in my home.

I already know about the common mistake people make not placing the standoffs before mounting the motherboard

Just a bit scared I may damage my mobo and cpu because of ESD
I read that some people install their psu first and use that to ground the case with the switch off

Is that necessary?

Would it be safe to just touch the back of the case without the psu before handling any of the components.
Thanks for the responses Chelsi and Kenactwo
To start off with, ESD is very dangerous to a computer. To put it into perspective, it takes 400 volts to fry a chip. It takes roughly 1000v for the person to feel it. So it takes a very little amount of static to damage a component.

That said, while grounding is important, I've found that outside of handling the CPU or sticks of RAM, you can get away with minimal grounding without a problem. Always be a good idea to follow the following tips though:

- Wear natural fibers like cotton or wool. They're less prone to static buildup than synthetics like nylon.
- Avoid working in a dry environment. If you can't avoid it run a humidifier for a while before starting.
- Ground yourself before touching any components. Touching a cold water pipe, an object plugged into an outlet with a three phase plug (the three pronged one) etc. The idea with the power supply is a good but it doesn't need to be installed right away. the casing on the supply is what provides the grounding on it. Touching the case without the PSU installed is counter productive as the case has no grounding path.
- Avoid excessive movements. The more you move, he more static you can generate. reducing that helps. Gather all the components and tools you need within easy reach before starting.
- Ground yourself while working. Barefoot on grounded material or leather soled shoes is a good investment for this. While it seems to run contrary to what you may believe, in this case you want to be the quickest path to the ground. That way there's no static getting to the components. If you want to be really careful, getting a grounding strap and connecting it to a known grounded path is a good idea but as I said, for most components it's a little excessive.
12/05/2012 08:56 AMPosted by Chelsí
I do mine on a wood table on wood floor and never ave an issue.


^ Wood table (with wheels!!!) & tile floor for me. But if you get one of those static wristband things, and wear real shoes (not slippers) then you'll probably be fine building it in your living room. Touching the case or some other such metal thing is usually good enough to discharge any static electricity in your body. But don't risk it, imo. A non-carpeted floor & proper shoes (not socks or slippers) are your safest bet.
Let me suggest the above solution with the humidifier, though I recommend a spray bottle of filtered water if you don't have one.

Or if you have a portable hot plate, boiling some water on it, or even just a pot of water in front of a fan.
I just use one of these - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899888207
i've worked on many, many machines, and have always found that touching a nearby metal post or something works fine.
You can get an antistatic wristband.They are about $8 at Radioshack. You just wrap it around your wrist, and connect the alligator clip to whatever you want to ground to.
12/05/2012 09:19 AMPosted by Nashiri
If you want to be really careful, getting a grounding strap and connecting it to a known grounded path is a good idea but as I said, for most components it's a little excessive.

12/05/2012 10:22 AMPosted by Mordrid
I just use one of these - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899888207


There is really no reason not to use something like this. I have been at fault in breaking a few computer parts, but I have never zapped one with ESD. I hook the strap to the actual ground wire on a power cable if the PSU needs to be unplugged for work.

I haven't broken anything without a strap, but I don't really even try that very often.
I used to work barefoot, on top of a carpet, no anti-static wristwraps, no nothing.

All I do is touch the side of the metal part of the PC (usually power supply).

Never had a problem. ;x

Of course, this is not something I would recommend.
I used to work barefoot, on top of a carpet, no anti-static wristwraps, no nothing.

All I do is touch the side of the metal part of the PC (usually power supply).

Never had a problem. ;x

Of course, this is not something I would recommend.


Really as long as you make sure to touch something metal to ground yourself and avoid touching any of the pins/connectors/exposed circuitry and stick just touching the board parts and sides of your CPU you should be pretty safe.

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