Static discharge

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Lucbert, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. Lucbert macrumors regular

    Lucbert

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #1
    Hey
    Today I opened up the back of my Mid2009 Unibody Macbook Pro 13, because the fan makes some kind of a buzzing sound and I wanted to make sure it wasn't touching any cables. It wasn't.
    After opening my computer I touched some of it's insides, just out of curiosity.
    After that I closed my computer and put the screws back in.
    I did not ground myself before doing that.
    Do you think my computer was damaged by a static discharge. I read that they can destroy computers even if you don't feel them...
     
  2. prodigee macrumors 6502a

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    Brooklyn, NY
    #2
    Does it not boot anymore? Are you having any problems? If not you are fine.
     
  3. Lucbert thread starter macrumors regular

    Lucbert

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #3
    As far as I can tell it's working fine, but I read that it might have damaged the components and that it can take up to a couple of month untill the components actually produce errors or fail...

    Is static really as dangerous as everybody makes it seem or is the grounding one is supposed to do before touching the insides of a computer more of a percussion like checking a cars oil before going for a drive??
     
  4. prodigee macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 23, 2009
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    Brooklyn, NY
    #4
    Well static can destroy a computer that is for sure, it has happened to me, but if there was a discharge, you would have felt it, and heard a pop followed by the smell of burning electronics.

    You dont need to worry about this coming back to bite you, that is if you spill something on your machine, and you think you got all of it, but after a while the liquid corrodes the PCB, but in this case you are fine.
     
  5. mrwizardno2 macrumors 6502a

    mrwizardno2

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    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #5
    Teehee, not quite. Just sayin'


    Maybe once he plugged it back in and applied some real power to it, but a little static is certainly not going to cause any burning smell. :D
     
  6. daflake macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 8, 2008
    #6
    Static can do a few things. It can destroy the computer outright, or it can damage chips thus shortening their life and the life of your computer. If you see a spark, that is likely 10000 plus volts that you just shot into the computer. That being said, you don't have to see or hear anything for static to do damage. You should not have opened and randomly touched the chips in your computer.
     
  7. prodigee macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 23, 2009
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    Brooklyn, NY
    #7
    By that logic almost anyone who has ever opened a computer at installed ram or what not has shortened the life of the computer dramatically. Worst possible thing that I can see happening is that rather than the capacitors lasting 10 years they last 9.5 years. Really the OP will be fine, if he hasn't encountered any issues up to now you will be fine.

    I would also be quite shocked if you hadn't already grounded yourself, because you had to open it first, and if you are like me you would have been on something that doesnt conduct electricity. When you took the bottom off the computer you had already grounded yourself and discharged any static you already had.
     
  8. daflake macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    #8

    Clearly you don't work in this environment. I have seen cards that worked fine one day and then failed a few days later due to static discharge. Think what you like, but I don't recommend opening electronics and running your hands along them, including memory modules. I know for a fact that they come with information telling the installer to be properly grounded. By your logic the companies are wasting money on special bags and plastics to protect them. Hopefully the OP is fine but proper information should be given here.

    To the OP... Why didn't you just take the laptop in for repair if you were concerned? You likely voided your warranty if they can tell you opened it.
     
  9. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #9
    You can easily kill computer components without enough static to feel. Opening the computer while it is running is also very risky because if you short something out (with a screwdriver or while connecting a cable or something) you will probably fry something. Normally you should have the computer unplugged and remove the battery before disassembling it or changing any parts (though that is not possible with the non-removable battery).

    If it still works right now, chances are you didn't do too much damage. I don't know enough about semiconductors to say anything about whether you shortened the lifespan of anything, though.

    If you don't take precautions like grounding yourself, working on an antistatic mat, and wearing a wrist strap, you might not do any harm, but you are taking unnecessary chances. I never owned an antistatic mat until recently when my motherboard died. I don't think I did anything to kill it (since it had been powered off for a few months until I tried to power it on and it didn't work), but I bought an antistatic mat before I put in the replacement because a $30 mat is a lot cheaper than a $150 motherboard or $50 stick of RAM or $200 CPU or whatever. With laptops repairs are even more expensive since you can't just buy a replacement motherboard from Newegg. Of course, if it is under warranty you can play dumb and they will probably never be able to figure out if you caused the damage or if the part just died by itself.
     
  10. Lucbert thread starter macrumors regular

    Lucbert

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #10
    Thanks for all the replies!
    Some of you said, that you would recommend the use of anti static matts.
    What I don't understand is: the manual makes it sound that touching the metal frame around the SuperDrive is enough to ground yourself.
    So if that's sufficent, why would one need to use a static matt?

    Also, do you guys think that I can also ground myself by just touching the MacBooks alu frame?
     
  11. OldMike macrumors 6502

    OldMike

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    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    #11
    The manual clearly states that memory and the internal hard drive is user replaceable, so it is likely that he did not void his warranty if they can tell he opened it :rolleyes:
     
  12. daflake macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 8, 2008
    #12
    Even with a strap on your wrist, you should limit your contact with chips by trying to grab the edges of the cards. There are ways to ground yourself in a pinch, but doing what you were doing is never recommended and you probably did some damage. The amount is not known but it is likely there.
     
  13. daflake macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    #13
    If the system board went south and they could see that the system was opened with no record of it by them, the OP would likely have a fight to get the repair under warranty.
     
  14. Lucbert thread starter macrumors regular

    Lucbert

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #14
    I doubt that, because that would essentialy mean that changing the ram voids your warranty, because they could blame almost anything on opening it.

    Also, why are you so sure that some damage was done when I touched the chips? I am just wondering because before I had a mac I had a pc and I always touched it's insides without being grounded and I even once short cicuited it ( I unplugged a fan while it was running) it was still working flawlessly.
    Are macs mire prone to static damage than pcs?
     
  15. Lucbert thread starter macrumors regular

    Lucbert

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #15
    do you think I allready grounded myself to the same voltage as the computer by touching the alu chassis? I mean that's metal too, right???
     

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