Static Safety Help

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by 10th Doctor, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. 10th Doctor macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2010
    While the package hasn't arrived yet, I recently bought an external enclosure for my dead MacBook's hard drive. I had meant to do this early in September, but quite a few health/financial setbacks left me fairly broke.

    Anyway! Aside from upgrading memory, I've never really opened up my computer before. I didn't know static electricity was such a danger until I started reading warnings when watching YouTube tutorials. Nearly everyone was using anti-static mats or wrist bands... none of which I really want to buy right now.

    So I have some questions for those of us who only have household items at our disposal.

    I live in a house that has mainly wood flooring. There's also ceramic tile in the bathroom, linoleum in the kitchen and concrete in the garage. Aside from ceramic tile counters in the bathroom, all surfaces are wood.

    What area has the lowest static?

    Also, what type of shoes are best? Or should I go bare foot?

    I also heard it's good to touch a grounded metal object before opening the computer. Would that be something like a faucet?

    Ok, I'll stop rattling on...

    Any help, suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated!
  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Make sure you put some down on the workspace that doesn't transfer static electricity. Yes touching metal before open it is a good idea, especially when heating the house.
  3. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    If I were you I'd head out to Radioshack (or similar electronics retailer, maybe even Best Buy) and pick up an ESD wrist strap. It's basically an elastic band with a contact pad, that sits against your skin, with a cord & alligator clip that you can attach to a ground point in your home. Maybe $10 at the most and provides "good enough" ESD safety for the occasional repair. You might also look into an anti-static work mat, a soft mat that connects to a ground point similar to the ESD strap.

    Examples at Radioshack
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    This is a legit concern, but I think you are a bit over concerned about it. Just put the Mac on a table to do the work and touch something to ground yourself first and you will be fine. The best place is the center metal screw holding on an electrical wall plate (assuming you have a home with three pronged outlets).
  5. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    I didn't used to believe this was a risk, until the late 90s - I was upgrading the CEOs laptop and killed the motherboard. As has been said, it's important but not that difficult. Straps are about convenience and certainty. Touching something (which used to be the power supply inside the case) after you're done moving your feet across the carpet, is enough in most cases. You could just as easily burry one end of a wire outside and touch it before/during the operation.

    The point is not to be electrically isolated, so just touch something conductive that isn't (is grounded). And watch out for old wiring, it's easy for even a 3 prong not to be grounded.
  6. 10th Doctor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2010
    Thank you, everyone! I think I'm even more paranoid about opening up my MacBook, but I'll do the best I can with what I have. Honestly, if I had any cash to spare, I'd pick up an anti-static mat in a heartbeat. I'm barely breaking even at the moment.

    That being, I shall employ all the safety tips that have been recommended.

    Thank you again! MacRumors is always great for getting advice. :)

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