Grounding oneself...

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by craigdawg, May 25, 2004.

  1. craigdawg macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    I had a recent string of bad luck and a couple of SODIMMs.

    I finally had the good sense to purchase a grounding strap/wristband. I've been opening up the case on my computer and clipping to the chassis while it's still plugged in (but turned off). I would like to know if cliping it to anything metal--like a filing cabinet--is sufficient or does the metal have to be grounded.

    I don't really understand 'lectricity a whole lot.
  2. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    just touching the metal on the case before the parts inside is more than enough. those static wrist bands are pretty much useless.
  3. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    yeah i just touch a metal item before i do any work to ground myself; the static bands do the same thing

    so you should be okay either way
  4. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    that's a no-no !!!
  5. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    i bought a wrist band way back when, i used it once when i was putting in my first RAM stick, haven't used it since. In fact, it was hanging on my wall so long, the elastic bands have disintergrated and doesn't shrink/stretch anymore.
    Haven't had a single problem with RAM, Drives, Mobos. Just touch the chassis, and you'll be fine.
  6. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2003
    I suggest flying a kite in the middle of a thunderstorm with metallized string. :p :eek:

    You don't need the groundding strap. Just touch the case before you start working on it, and don't shuffle your feet or move around excessively when you are putting the parts together.
  7. craigdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    Really? I've read a couple times that's what you're supposed to do. By keeping the tower/chassis plugged in, you're being grounded to the building ground. I know not to touch a capacitor as it may carry some residual juice.

    It's just a pain in the behind for me to pop the case every time, especially when I'm working on one of our laptops.
  8. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    Do like that cat in the cartoons did. Get an extension cord and split the ends so it plugs into you ears. Then plug into outlet.
  9. Krizoitz macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2003
    Tokyo, Japan
    I assume we aren't talking about sending oneself to their room for bad behavior right ;)

    The instructions that come with the Macs that I have added ram, HD to etc say to turn off the machine but leave it plugged in, as this grounds the machine. Then by touching the metal you are releasing any built up charge in yourself. High quality grounding straps usually plug right in to the wall because that way they are sure to be grounded. But as long as you clip one of those cheap ones to metal you should be fine.
  10. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    yes for proper grounding, the computer must be plugged into a grounded circuit, then you clip on the static band (or, more realistically, touch the chasis). If you're wearing a grounded strip, it's actually not grounded unless it's touching another grounded object, and the computer is not grounded if it's unpluged. However, it's also unwise to work on your computer while it's plugged in. So, for optimal results, you should have a wristband plugged into the little round third hole on an outlet; take care not to plug it into the other holes ;)

    If you simply go, unplug your computer, open it up, touch the chasis and go, you could still be carrying a static charge. You must touch it when the PC is plugged in. But assuming you're not doing anything to generate unusual static, you don't really need to be grounded for the whole procedure, because you won't pick up a new charge until you go sit in a chair or walk across carpet.

    Personally, i've done enough field work to have played with many machines ungrounded. I have never fried a part. Some people will carry static better than others. But a simple grounding at the beginning of a procedure will reduce your margin of error.

  11. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2002
    Tacoma, WA
    Hunh? It really shouldn't be plugged in. By attaching the ground wire you are putting yourself AND the computer at the same voltage level (thus "grounding"). I spark cannot ark from 20V to 20V, thus you are grounded and safe to work on the computer. There is no technical ground because you are just evening out the differences in voltages (or potential) from one circuit to another.


    PS. Alot of mobo's now don't remove all power from the board when they are turned off so most of the board actually does have power even tho the computer is technically "off".
  12. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2003
    Home of Al-Qaida
    What are you people? Cats? The only time I get static shock is after I get outta my car and touch the door frame.

    Touching the power supply of your system before touching anything static sensitive will do the trick. Though I've never done that, ever, while handle computer parts (RAM, HD, Video, Sound, whatever). And I'm on carpet too! w/ and w/o shoes on.
  13. diamond geezer macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2004
    Geez people!!!

    Leave the computer plugged in, but switched off at the wall, this way, you and the computer will be grounded but there is no risk of voltages.

    Clip yourself to the metal casing of the computer.

    Or even better, get a proper grounding strap that plugs into the wall, and get a tester plug that tests the wall plug is wired up correctly.

    Alternatively, leave the computer unplugged, rub the SODIMM rapidly up and down on your carpet, while pouring coffee into the slot of the computer.

    Use the wrist clip as a nipple clamp.

    Take photos and post here
  14. diamond geezer macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2004
    It requires about 40,000V to feel a static shock, while it can take only 40V to damage your computer.

    And the damage may only become apparent months down the line.

    (all courtesy of the official Apple training video from the 80's, you should check out the clothes and hairstyles)
  15. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Jun 17, 2003
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Nothing hard about this. Open the case. Touch something metal inside the computer. Unplug the computer. Then start working. If you walk somewhere and do something else somewhere along the way, plug the computer in, touch something metal, and then unplug the computer again.
  16. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Just adding another voice with the correct advice:

    Leave the computer plugged in, sit down in the position you're going to work on it in, touch something metal on the case, then unplug it and work, without moving. This isn't 100% foolproof, but so long as you don't move around much or live in an exceedingly dry climate with wool carpets, that'll probably be fine.

    If you want to be paranoid, do the above, and then get a proper anti-static wristband that pluggs into the ground pin on a household outlet, which is the only type you can be pretty sure is doing its job. And still don't move around, of course.

    (Incidentally, clipping a strap to the case while the computer is plugged in does do exactly what you want, except it's a bad idea to work inside a computer when it's on, since not everything is powered down. Clipping it to a metal filing cabnet might help, but the cabinet isn't really grounded well, so it's not the best choice--some exposed metal on an outlet would be a better idea if you're in a newer house, since that is usually grounded.)

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