Static electricity is the biggest danger to the expensive parts you are about to assemble, even a tiny shock, much too small for you to feel, can damage or ruin the delicate electronic traces, many times smaller than a human hair, that make up your CPU, RAM and other chips. It’s important to use your anti-static wrist strap to prevent damage to these components. Once you have the power supply installed in the case, clip the end of the wrist strap to the outside of the power supply. (Never plug your computer in while you are connected to it by a wrist strap.) This will ensure that you, the case and the power supply are all connected to a common ground, in other words there will be no inequality of charge that will allow a spark to jump from you to the case. It’s also helpful to have an anti-static mat to set the case and other components on.
Nobody but you is at fault if you shock your components with static electricity. Make sure that you take the precautions in the previous paragraph to ground yourself from static electricity. (Note: if you really must work on a computer and have not got proper anti-static equipment, it is usually OK if you make sure that you do not move about much; are not wearing any static-prone clothing; handle components by the edges; and regularly (once a minute or so), touch a grounded object.). The case metal of your PC’s power supply will usually be a suitable grounded object. As noted above, touch it every few minutes while you are working on your PC if you haven’t got a wrist strap.
Turn off your computer and switch off your Power Supply at the wall before installing or removing any components – if power is flowing to components as they are installed or removed, they can be seriously damaged. In order to have a computer properly grounded, you need it plugged in at the wall but turned off at the power supply and at the wall. The neutral line may be earthed
Never cut the grounding pin off your power cord. This “safety ground” stands between you and potentially lethal voltages inside the power supply.
Be wary of sharp edges! Many lower-end PC cases have sharp, unfinished edges. This is especially so on interior surfaces, and where the case has been cut or punched-out. Use care and take your time to avoid cutting your hands. If your case has this problem, a little time with some sandpaper before you begin construction can spare you a lot of pain. Be extra careful not to cut yourself when installing the I/O Shield.
Dismantling discrete electronic components such as your Power Supply or Monitor is dangerous. They contain high voltage capacitors, which can cause a severe electric shock if you touch them. These hold a charge even when the unit is not plugged in and are capable of delivering a fatal shock.
Earn a free Certificate of Completion for completing this course. Pass a 50-question test on this course with a score of 70 or higher and receive a certificate of completion. Visit our Computer Repair and Assembly Certificate of Completion page for more information.
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