Upgrading iMac and Static Electricity

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mat25, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. mat25 macrumors regular


    Aug 13, 2008
    I am going to upgrade the RAM in my early '09 iMac, and I am wondering if there are any suggested ways of removing the static electricity from yourself (grounding), besides using an antistatic wrist strap, as I do not have one of these. I have read that touching the metal casing of a computer will ground you, but that only applies to computers with rockers switches on them, as well a power switches. Would touching a butter knife have the same effect? Thanks
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    A doorknob should work well, not sure if a butter knife would do that
  3. nOw2 macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2009
    To ground yourself, touch something metal connected to the ground. Usually the bathroom taps are, or the metal case of any appliance which is plugged in and has a 3-core wire to the plug. A washing machine would be a good bet.
  4. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    LOL - why a butter knife? You need to touch something connected to electrical ground to get rid of static, and butter knives are (usually!) not connected to anything.

    No... wood is a poor conductor... so a doorknob isn't really connected to ground.

    OK, it is worth being careful about static when messing with memory... since you can zap the electronics if you've built up a static charge.

    The best ways to build up a static charge is to put on or take off a nylon or wool jumper, to wear rubber soled shoes and drag your feet along a carpet. (So don't do those things).

    An anti static wrist strap is a conducting strap (usually canvas or nylon with wires sewn into it) which you can hook up to a grounding point (often an electrical plug with only the ground post present). The grounding wire usually contains a resistor for safety - as touching something electrically live while being earthed is usually a bad thing.

    Enough background... let's concentrate on what you should do. Firstly, don't be too paranoid... unless you're careless it's difficult to build up a big static charge. I have an anti-static wrist strap, but I don't use it 'cos I'm too lazy - and I usually:

    - Take the computer into the kitchen and put it on the table. Don't plug it in.
    - Make sure you're not wearing lots of nylon/wool. Cotton is good.
    - Go over to the faucet and touch it. Faucets are 'grounded' - and it's a great way to discharge any static charge on your body
    - Sit at the kitchen table and do the upgrade. If you need to pause and do something else mid way (go to the hall and answer the phone), just re-ground yourself on the faucet before continuing.
    - That's it.
  5. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2010
    This. Also, for future reference, an anti-static wrist strap is an invaluable peice of equipment for DIYers. Most places sell them for under $10.
  6. mat25 thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 13, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. Oh I remember reading somewhere that a butter knife will ground you lol I guess not though :p I would buy a antistatic strap the only problem is I would have to buy it online and that could take a while to ship here. So I'll touch some appliances and a faucet to ground myself, thanks a lot!
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    You don't need some strap. This is ridiculous. Touch something metal and be done with it.
  8. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Indeed. Apple suggest that you just touch any metal, e.g. the casing of the iMac.

    From MBP manual:

    "Touch a metal surface inside the computer to discharge any static electricity from your body."


    No need to be paranoid. I've built several PCs without a strap and they are still doing fine after years of operation
  9. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    ++ to that. No need for paranoia here.

    Most IC chips actually contain extra circuitry to protect against static - which works for modest levels.

    That will equalise your charge with that of the machine... and that's the important thing. It's when you and the computer have a different charge that you can 'zap' it.

    It doesn't strictly discharge you though - since the computer isn't grounded itself when it's unplugged. Nice to touch a faucet too to get rid of any charge.
  10. Floris macrumors 68020


    Sep 7, 2007
    I am quite interested in replacing the hard drive, and a few other things in the early 2009 imac 24" model I have. I will start simple and as a noob, with replacing the memory with 8gb. I am doing a lot of photoshop stuff, and photoshop looooves memory. :apple:

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