[thelist] grounding + shorts (installing hardware)

Norman Bunn norman.bunn at craftedsolutions.com
Fri Sep 9 12:08:42 CDT 2005

The first thing you have to understand about electricity is that charges 
are all relative.  For example, you don't feel anything while walking 
across a carpet, but when you get to a doorknob that has a different 
electrical reference, a spark and a shock happen.  This is why all 
electrical devices use the absolute reference of "ground" or "earth", by 
which they mean the planet itself.  Go outside and look at any power 
pole and you will see a metal wire running down the side into the 
ground.  This is to keep the entire power system aligned to a common 
reference, the earth.

So what does this have to do with your computer and motherboard?  Well, 
you need to make sure you are at the same common reference point or a 
potentially damaging shock may happen.  To make sure of this, you need 
to take hold of the metal chassis of the PC before performing any work.  
Some even go so far as to recommend a grounding bracelet that will make 
sure you and the chassis stay in electrical agreement.  This used to be 
critical on older PCs, but newer ones are not near as sensitive, so the 
hand-on method usually works fine.

So, before installing the motherboard, grab a metal portion of the PC 
chassis.  Then when you take hold of the motherboard, try to make as 
little contact as possible with the components on the board, handling it 
by the edges.  When you put the board in place you will notice it has 
exposed metal where the screws connect it to the chassis standout 
mounting points.  This is how the motherboard is grounded to the chassis 
to prevent any problems.

Oh, and I would avoid working on a PC on a rug.  Those fibers can 
generate some interesting charges, just ask the doorknob.




Norman W. Bunn
norman.bunn at craftedsolutions.com
Crafted Solutions, Inc.
Web Design & Development
Web Site Hosting & Custom Solutions
"Get the results the Internet promises;
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Anthony Ettinger wrote:

>Yeah. I got an RMA from newegg.
>Now I'm off to read about this "grounding" issue. I
>still don't get it after talking to some guys inline
>at the computer store last night.
>The tech said the computer has to be touching metal. I
>said, well my apartment is rug not metal floor? He
>said it won't work unless the computer is touching
>metal. I started thinking, wtf - so doesn't that metal
>have to be touching other metal? I still don't get
>1 guy said, just keep your finger on the power supply
>the whole time you're working on the computer that'll
>keep you grounded. Uh...the power supply is usually
>the first thing to be removed when I work on the
>One guy metnioned a bracelet i can wear for grounding
>(no friggin' idea how this makes any sense), but they
>were out of stock none-the-less.
>It's just a matter of time before someone tells me I
>have to get extra long battery cables and hook one end
>up to my nipple, and the other end to the microwave,
>while wearing an aluminum mixing bowl on my head -
>otherwise i could damage the motherboard.
>--- Richard Maloley II
><richard at rrcomputerconsulting.com> wrote:

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