Anti-Static Stuff

Man of Honour
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Hello

This possibly belongs in the ‘first time pc build’ forum but it applies generally so I thought here was best.

I’m going to be building a pc for the first time and have all my components, which are all pretty pricey and it would be disastrous if I nuked any of them with a static shock by accident (as unlikely as that is).

Weighing it up, I’m more happy to pay some money to avoid the risk. So assume that I’m happy to pay money for the products.

From what I gather, I’ll want something like this kit:

https://www.antistat.co.uk/product/esd-workstation-kit-blue/#

Just something I found on google without much searching.

The one thing that puts me off some of the other products is something I read regarding the need to ensure that if you’re directly grounded, you need to ensure you have a plug with a resistor on it to prevent the different in charge (from the ground wire) going back up and zapping your kit. I also read you don’t have anything with resistors in it, or you aren’t sure, you’re better off not grounding yourself and clipping to your pc case.

Any commentary or thoughts on all of this would be most appreciated! Cheers!
 
Man of Honour
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Chances are very very low - even most static discharges won't kill modern hardware. That said I did have one pretty hefty one once, no idea why, that killed an interface board* - but it was completely freak - in nearly 30 years I've never had any other instances.

I generally just use a generic strap grounded to the case if I'm working on someone else's hardware - don't bother for my own.



* Had to have been really unlucky on that one as it killed a MOSFET of a type you have to be especially careful handling :(
 
Associate
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Don't think I've heard a single story of static killing a component so I'd say you're fine. If you're concerned, touch the case every so often.

There was a slightly related video from Linustechtips and Electroboom where they were trying to kill components with much more electricity than would be found in a static charge, they failed to kill them until it was at stupid levels.
 
Soldato
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Strap is enough when you use common sense.
Like avoid wearing clothes most prone to generate static charges and environment with insulating surfaces.



There was a slightly related video from Linustechtips and Electroboom where they were trying to kill components with much more electricity than would be found in a static charge, they failed to kill them until it was at stupid levels.
Instead of using human to soften discharge they should have zapped components directly.
And suspect that instead of hitting circuiry they just kept mostly zapping that heatspreader.
Even high voltage follows the path of the least resistance and if there was well grounded path available that's where ESD goes.
Also didn't see any memory stress testing to have reasonable guarantee of memory still being fully functional.
So that's really bad base for assumption that you can stop giving a damn about ESD precautions.

As for how big discharges it's possible to have I've gotten zaps possible to hear through earmuffs with factory machinery noise as background.
Though in humid climate (like normal in UK) that level charges would be extremely unlikely to happen naturally.
 
Permabanned
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Don't listen to anyone who says you don't need it, you do. It's true that there are some protections for static in modern hardware but that doesn't mean you can't still blow things up, and worse, when a small static discharge hits a piece of hardware it can damage but not destroy it, resulting in reduced lifetime. When you are messing with some really expensive hardware you are simply nuts not to bother to use some anti-static measures. You don't have to go mad, but a good wrist strap is a great minimum.
 
Soldato
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Don't listen to anyone who says you don't need it, you do. It's true that there are some protections for static in modern hardware but that doesn't mean you can't still blow things up, and worse, when a small static discharge hits a piece of hardware it can damage but not destroy it, resulting in reduced lifetime. When you are messing with some really expensive hardware you are simply nuts not to bother to use some anti-static measures. You don't have to go mad, but a good wrist strap is a great minimum.

loads of ********, dont wear a woolly jumper, and dont scrape your feat over the carpet when building one :p
 
Soldato
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Don't listen to anyone who says you don't need it, you do. It's true that there are some protections for static in modern hardware but that doesn't mean you can't still blow things up, and worse, when a small static discharge hits a piece of hardware it can damage but not destroy it, resulting in reduced lifetime. When you are messing with some really expensive hardware you are simply nuts not to bother to use some anti-static measures. You don't have to go mad, but a good wrist strap is a great minimum.
Couldn't agree more, people that say otherwise don't know what they are talking about.
I try and build my pcs in with where we have full ESD control, ESD benches, wrist straps and flooring/seats.
 
Man of Honour
OP
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Yes, I think the chances of damage are also very low but, as said by others above, why take the risk?

If I bought the kit linked to in the OP, would I sit the whole pc onto the mat?

Again, not sure if it is better to attach to just the case (no grounding) or to the plug (grounded, apparently some risk of discharge back up into the kit).
 
Associate
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You're fine as long you follow basic common sense. Don't build on carpet, don't wear your lucky jumper, and touch your case before you handle components. The risks are massively overhyped (mostly by companies with something to sell you) and you're certainly not going to blow anything up.

If you're particularly worried, buy a wrist strap for peace of mind. I was paranoid about it when I started messing around with computers, but in the 20+ years since, I've yet to damage anything through static.
 
Soldato
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You're fine as long you follow basic common sense. Don't build on carpet, don't wear your lucky jumper, and touch your case before you handle components. The risks are massively overhyped (mostly by companies with something to sell you) and you're certainly not going to blow anything up.

If you're particularly worried, buy a wrist strap for peace of mind. I was paranoid about it when I started messing around with computers, but in the 20+ years since, I've yet to damage anything through static.
I'd put money you have damaged something you just haven't seen the evidence. Can be as simple as shortening the life span of a component.
I have to do the course every so often, we occasionally get PCBs deep inspected to check for evidence and it's often only visible on the x-rays. Break down of tracks within ICs for instance.

Anyone saying it's a made up thing should be ignored, wear a strap they're cheap and will cut the risk. Fit the PSU first and plug it in but switched off the chassis will be earthed then plug you wrist strap into the same earth circuit so it's linked or clip to the chassis.
 
Associate
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I'd put money you have damaged something you just haven't seen the evidence. Can be as simple as shortening the life span of a component.
I have to do the course every so often, we occasionally get PCBs deep inspected to check for evidence and it's often only visible on the x-rays. Break down of tracks within ICs for instance.

Anyone saying it's a made up thing should be ignored, wear a strap they're cheap and will cut the risk. Fit the PSU first and plug it in but switched off the chassis will be earthed then plug you wrist strap into the same earth circuit so it's linked or clip to the chassis.

Depends how long you keep your components I suppose. There may be things I've sold on that lasted 8 years rather 10, but I've never seen it have an impact during my upgrade cycles.

@Nitefly - it's your money really. If you keep your case grounded and you're working on a sensible surface, a £5 wrist strap is all you need. That would give you another £50 to put towards your build budget.
 
Associate
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The old saying is : "you better be safe than sorry" , right? I personally use the ESD wrist band but is just because I want to be on safe side but there are techniques/procedures that you can follow to avoid accidents
 
Soldato
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Leave PSU plugged in (but off at PSU switch), touch an unpainted part of case or PSU before pick stuff up, don't move around too much and a wrist strap to ground, that's what I've always done. Costs very little ££.
 
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