Computer Hardware:
     • Tools, Static & Cleaning
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     • Overclocking

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Common PC Problems:
     • Slow Computer
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     • Software Failure
     • Printing Problems

     • Windows Shortcuts
     • Glossary of Terms
     • HTML Colour Picker
     • Number Base Converter

Electrostatic Discharge

During computer maintenance, Electrostatic Discharge or ESD is when static electricity is suddenly transferred from a person to a sensitive computer component. This can cause damage or shorten the life of a hardware component such as a CPU, intergrated circuits, RAM modules, expansion cards, and motherboard components.

To prevent the damage caused by ESD it is important to ground yourself. You can buy an ESD wrist strap which fits around your wrist and is connected to the computer chassis via a coiled retractable cable and 1 megohm resistor with a crocodile clip. Make sure that the crocodile clip is connected to an unpainted metal part of the case. The computer can also be placed on an anti-static mat to prevent ESD.

Antistatic wrist strap

Antistatic Wrist Strap.

You should always remember to switch off and unplug your computer when working inside the case. However if you are using an anti-static wrist strap then you can switch the computer off but leave it plugged in to the wall socket making sure that it is turned off at the wall socket switch. This will keep you grounded without any power getting to the computer.

If you want to do a quick upgrade inside the computer case and do not have an anti-static wrist strap or mat then you can still take some precautions against ESD. Touching the unpainted metal parts of a radiator will temporarily ground you and then keep touching the metal chassis of the case when working inside the computer. It is not a good idea to place the computer on a carpet to work on it, and also be aware that if you walk around on the carpet then static can build up in your body.

Always put sensitive computer components in anti-static bags to keep them safe from ESD. You will notice that when you buy a computer component such as a graphics card that it is inside a special bag that protects it from static electricity.

When handling computer components such as expansion cards or memory modules you should not touch the gold electrical contacts as this can cause damage. Always hold the edge of components away from any electrical contacts, or pins.

MENU (Tools, Static & Cleaning):
1. Computer Tools 2. Static electricity 3. Cleaning a computer