Electro Static Discharge
has killed many-a PC component. Do you remember that little shock you
get after walking across the carpet and then touching a metal door knob?
That charge is many times more than is required to permanently damage an
electronic component You can pass on a devastating charge without ever
knowing it. So, if you remove the case from a PC you should take a few
precautions, or the electronic Grim Reaper will be visiting the system you
are working on well before it's time.
ESD kits: These can be
found at any Radio Shack. A popular type is a wrist strap connected by
a wire to an alligator clip on the other end. Simply connect the
alligator clip to the metal chassis of the PC. This is NOT the most
efficient type, but will do MOST of the time. There are also floor
mats and portable work mats. In the event that you HAVE to work on a
PC and do not have any of these anti-static devices available, you can touch
the chassis for a few seconds. HOWEVER, this should be a last resort!
There are two instances when you should most certainly remove a
wrist strap or other anti-ESD device. I recommend that you DO NOT
attempt to open and/or repair a power supply or monitor unless you are a
professional electronics type person! If you do it anyway, then REMOVE
any anti-static devices! There are components in power supplies and monitors
that can KILL YOU quite easily.
When working on PC's you
are working on electrical systems, and therefore, should be cautious!
There are times when you have to have a PC plugged in while the case is
removed. When this is the case you must be very careful! Two bad
things (and many more) can happen. First, you can injure of even kill
yourself. Most of the PC parts do not carry very high voltages with
the exceptions of the CRT monitor and the power supply. Second, you
can damage the hardware, by causing a short, for instance. Often, this
damage is fatal for the hardware, and not repairable, therefore costly.
Therefore, it is a good idea to unplug a PC before removing the cover.
The only obvious exception is when you want to check out the cooling fans.