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How to use and not use an antic static wristband

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#1 gensuperman


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Posted 22 June 2014 - 06:55 PM

Okay. I have been trying to research this. As I don't want to static shock any of the components on this new computer build.

The question I have is:

What is the proper way to hook up an anti static wrist strap to the computer?

I have read hundreds of ways to do this, but, I'm trying to clarify some of this :

First off:

From another forum post (somewhere on the web), I read someone say:

In regards to an antistatic wrist strap:

"Both ways are okay:

1. You put the power supply into the computer case first. Then you plug it into a surge protector, that plugs into the wall. The surge protector is then turned off. (However, there is an on/off switch on the back of the power supply?). Then you put on the wrist strap and the metal piece under the strap case touches your skin. The alligator clip then connects to a "Non painted metal surface" of the case. Then any electrical static goes back to the earth.

2. Second way, You just connect the anti static wristband to the computer case on a metal non painted surface and without plugging the power supply into the wall socket.

In both ways the electric potential of the computer case and your wrist is the same. So no charge flows - no damage".

But, how is that possible? When you touch a different item such as an unboxed memory chips or cpu processor? They won't be the same current as the computer case or you, even if you had the anti static wristband attached or unattached?

So.... I used to do this differently in the past.... where I would just touch a metal piece such as an unplugged side of the power supply (whether being in the case or not) with both hands and that should release any anti static that you may have? I guess I have been doing this wrong? But, I have read where some have just touched a metal piece such as taking off the side metal panel of the computer case and that should release any anti static and place you at the same current.

But, in order to ground, wouldn't it need to be able to go back to the earth?

Wouldn't plugging in the power supply, even having the surge protector or power supply switch turned off and plugged into the wall, still have some form of current? Couldn't you get electrocuted?

So, what are ways to disappate static electricity or ways to keep static from damaging items that you are handling, such as CPU, Memory chips or harddrives?

Finally, I've read about anti static mats, but that seems kinda over kill, when you can just place the computer or parts on a wooden table. I'm sure you wouldn't use a metal table and definitely wouldnt build on carpet or any cloth or any plastic?

There are several people that don't even use anti static gloves, mats or bracelets.

I'm just confused, could use any help in this regards.

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#2 OldPhil



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Posted 22 June 2014 - 07:42 PM

85%+ I do not use mine, I use it in dry staticy situations which is not that often.  Even though I have touched plugs connectors etc opening the box I still clip onto the chassis.

Honesty & Integrity Above All!

#3 Kilroy


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Posted 22 June 2014 - 09:43 PM

Most people in the real world don't use anti-static straps.  For certifications you need to know that you always wear an anti-static strap.  Not wearing an anti-static strap just means that you are making the choice to buy new equipment if you fry what you're working on with a static discharge.


Most people use a variation of method 2.  They touch the power supply to discharge anything before they start working on the machine.


But, how is that possible? When you touch a different item such as an unboxed memory chips or cpu processor? They won't be the same current as the computer case or you, even if you had the anti static wristband attached or unattached?


Electricity is looking for ground, unless what you are picking up is grounded, or close to the ground, you're not going to discharge.  I only mention close to the ground be cause it is possible for a discharge across an air gap, but this normally isn't an issue.

#4 gensuperman

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 01:01 AM

Amazing explanation on:


Electricity is looking for ground, unless what you are picking up is grounded, or close to the ground, you're not going to discharge. - Kilroy


Ok.... So, what are ways to keep from causing static electricity?


I guess, what I am also looking for is this:


Here's my steps:


I have the motherboard on the wooden table (not in the case yet). I pull the CPU chip and the Memory chips from their boxes. At this point (not using the Anti Static bracelet) can that lead to a static discharge while touching the CPU, Memory chips (In their boxes) or even the Motherboard sitting on the wooden table? (With Kilroys beautiful answer, that shouldn't occur because nothing is grounded... well except for the motherboard on the wooden table right?)


Then lets take it one step further..... You then place the motherboard that now has the cpu and memory installed within the computer case's backing. Next, you would install in the power supply and then the harddrives and put all the connectors together. So.... At what point, can static discharge occur?


If I use the anti static wrist band. I could just clip it onto any metal piece, right? That metal piece sitting on the wooden table doesn't have to lead the earth/ground correct (or does it)? So, I could just connect it to the metal part of the computer case?


But, if I am reading this correctly, the powersupply has to already be in the computer case and the power supply must already be plugged into the wall (turned off) to truly be grounded. But, what happens if you don't have the power supply in the case yet? Then you have to hook up yourself to the metal part of the power supply as you work on the computer? I'm wondering is there some other easier way to discharge yourself, without having a direct electrical wall outlet and if you don't have any pipes that lead to the earth/ground to touch?

#5 Platypus


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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:34 AM

Some aspects of this discussion could be helpful:




One important thing to see with static discharge is that electrical potential is always "with respect to" something else. With static electricity, you don't know what potential exists between two objects, unless you have an electrometer to point at them, however you do know the potential of something that is earthed. If you just touch the case of the computer, you know you will be at the same potential with respect to the case, but you still don't know the static potential of the combined you/case with respect to anything else, including earth. Having the case earthed removes one unknown.


Another important factor is the amount of energy that is likely to be transferred in a static discharge. The thing that is likely to have by far the largest accumulation of charge is a human (in comparison with computer components), so if you are at earth potential, any discharge that will occur will be from the charge carried by a small component, being transferred to you. If you and/or the computer case aren't earthed, the way the energy will be transferred will be harder to predict. For example if a component like a RAM DIMM is earthed by some means, and you are not, touching it would discharge through the DIMM any static potential you are carrying. This could damage it, or may do no harm at all if it simply passed along a copper track. The fact that it is unpredictable means the best course of action is to have yourself float at around earth potential, either by frequently touching the earthed computer casing, or being connected through a resistive wrist strap. The resistance included in the strap serves the double purpose of limiting current flow if you accidentally connect yourself to a mains supply, and also providing a "softer" discharge for any component that discharges its own static "load" to earth through you when you touch it (e.g. taking CPU from its box).

Edited by Platypus, 23 June 2014 - 09:44 AM.

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#6 mjd420nova


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Posted 23 June 2014 - 10:02 AM

I have run into some weird wiring in a lot of clients homes.  Many don't even have a grounded outlet.  This will get you in real trouble if not recognized.  I have seen neutral and hot wires swapped by un polarized two wire plugs.  This can put the hot side on the chassis or isolated and able to build it's own static potential.  I use an outlet tester in an outlet to guide my approach to preventing a discharge.  In serious cases, a grounded mat may be called for and the unit unplugged before starting.  Normally a properly grounded chassis will provide needed protection while inside and the unit remains plugged in to provide the ground path.  In those instances no strap is needed.

#7 gensuperman

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 11:33 AM

So just to clarify, would these be the steps that you guys would then take for anti static bracelet?

I really like the idea of working out side of the case.

So, just to clarify, these would then by steps below based upon your guys suggestion:

1) Work off a wood table
2) Have the case and motherboard separately next to eachother on this wood table
3) Screw in the power supply to mount it to the case and make sure the power supply is turned off.
4) Plug in the power supply to the wall outlet to ground it.
5) Put on the wrist band and clip it to a screw on the power supply or hook it to the fan grill of the power supply
6) Touch the side of the power supply or something non painted metal on the case itself.
7) Begin working outside of the case on the motherboard separate from the case. (Put in memory, cpu, etc).
8) Put the completed mother board into the case and put the harddrives into the case.
9) Hook up the connectors from the board to the powersupply and harddrives.
***** (At this point do I need to unplug the computer from the wall to hook up the connectors)?
10) Unplug power supply from wall, plug into a surge protector and turn on surge protector. Start computer.

Thanks so much for any help, it is truly appreciated.

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