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Thread: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu Mate 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    Question Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    Ok, I hope this is the right forum for this kind of question - the forum called "Hardware" seems to be all about getting Ubuntu to work with all kinds of hardware, which is not what my question is about.

    Anyway, I'm thinking about manually changing something on the inside of my computer. I've either done that never before in my life, or not in a very long time - my memory is a bit vague on that point. In my preparations, I came across various websites recommending the use of esd wristbands. So, some questions:

    Most importantly, all the websites I have seen dealing with that topic talk about using a wristband, in the singular. Now, when I do complex technical tasks manually, I usually use both of my hands. So, shouldn't I use two wristbands? Then again, if I remember my basic physics correctly, having two grounding cables connected to my body might accidentally create an electric circuit, which would probably be bad. So, how do I solve this conundrum?

    Second, if I should decide to buy one or two esd wristbands, are there any important things I should pay attention to when choosing a specific product?

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    You only need one electrical connection from yourself to earth.

    Charge can build up from things like humidity and walking on carpets; having a connection to earth means that the charge can dissipate rather than sparking into your delicate and expensive electrical components.

    You wouldn't feel or see ESD, and it wouldn't leave a visible mark, your component would just be damaged.

    Personally, I've never bothered with a wristband for my own stuff. I'll touch a metal radiator before I start, if I remember, to dissipate any charge. People with nylon carpets who work with charged components all the time would find them more useful.

  3. #3
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    Thank you!

  4. #4
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    For the other part - being hazy on whether you've done it before and potentially being a bit nervous - the inside of a computer case is pretty straightforward. Things just go into slots, or sockets, or onto header pins. Some parts are fairly fiddly; bigger cases are generally easier to work in than smaller cases, and cheaper cases tend to have sharp edges that expensive ones don't.

    It's useful to have a bright torch and a magnetic-tipped screwdriver; it's quite easy to drop a small screw inside, and they'll inevitably short out something important if left in there.

    Just take your time and take a break if it's getting a bit much.

  5. #5
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    In theory you should wear an earthed wristband (one will do, you don't build static voltages across your body so one earthing will earth your entire body). But you should also keep yoru equipment on an earthed conductive mat. Earthing yourself if the kit is not earthed still allows for a static voltage difference between you and the un-earthed computer. Zap! If you don't have an earthed esd mat as well, then connect your strap to the computer chassis.

    At home, I just always made sure I was in contact with the computer casing (leaning one bare arm on the metal case) before and while handling the innards. This makes sure there is no static voltage difference between me and the kit.
    Last edited by The Cog; 1 Week Ago at 07:45 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    Working in bare feet might look weird but is gives a fine connection to ground. I have never bothered with a wristband.
    Bringing old hardware back to life. About problems due to upgrading.
    Please visit Quick Links -> Unanswered Posts.
    Don't use this space for a list of your hardware. It only creates false hits in the search engines.

  7. #7
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    Thank you!

  8. #8
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    Make sure that the equipment(computer) is completely disconnected from the mains supply, not just switched off. Else, Have you updated your will?
    A good earth point is the "town water" supply if it is supplied via copper/metal pipes.
    Connect a length of 4mm earth cable (building wire) via an earth clip to the nearest point on the water service (not after a water heater), you may have to go under your house. Terminate the other end at a terminal block on your work bench. Connect your wrist strap to the terminal block.
    Relying on an "earth" from other equipment, metal surrounds etc of toasters heaters etc could be prejudicial to your health.

  9. #9
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    In case anyone's wondering, the "surgery" on my PC - a RAM upgrade - went well, after some initial hiccups.

  10. #10
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    Re: Does anyone have advice on how to use ESD wristbands?

    It is nice to know how things worked out. Thanks for letting us know. Glad it all worked out OK.

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