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First post, by computergeek92

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Hehe.. I just thought of something. According to general ESD precautions, you are not supposed to keep plastic items near your work area where you are handling computer circuitry. Yet think about it.... The computer case itself has a plastic front panel or even plastic side panels on some models. Computers all contain plastic one way or another, even pieces attached to the motherboard. Hmm, now what do you guys think?

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Reply 1 of 30, by spiroyster

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Plastic is not a problem at all. Its just that most plastics (they are good insulators) can hold static charge rather well, and so if it comes into contact with something which has a large potential difference, you will get a discharge, and some electrical components are quite temperamental when it comes to static electricity. In short (no pun intended), simply ensure everything around you (including yourself) is discharged in a satisfactory manner before working with static sensitive components. Antistatic wrist bands also help to keep you statically inert when working with statically sensitive components, alternatively just keep discharging yourself (touch something that is grounded, e.g water pipes, radiator, or another person (if they are grounded!)) often, and avoid walking on carpets. o.0

So not only plastic, but maybe keep people away from computers too 😀

Reply 3 of 30, by gdjacobs

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Also, maintaining moderate humidity is an important part of moderating the risk of static discharge (which is also cheap in your home). Most of the other techniques, like air de-ionizers and anti static floors and desks get quite expensive.

computergeek92 wrote:

Is the plastic used for PC front panels static free?

No, it isn't.

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Reply 4 of 30, by computergeek92

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gdjacobs wrote:

Also, maintaining moderate humidity is an important part of moderating the risk of static discharge (which is also cheap in your home). Most of the other techniques, like air de-ionizers and anti static floors and desks get quite expensive.

computergeek92 wrote:

Is the plastic used for PC front panels static free?

No, it isn't.

Then I wonder why I never killed anything while touching the plastic panel the same time as the motherboard and cards. I always touch and hold the metal on the case while working on a PC. Sometimes I use a wrist strap when I feel extra paranoid. But I never work on carpet at home.

Humidity never gave me any benefit. I still felt the static from plastic bags no matter if the humidity was 30% or 60%. I had my computer case panel closed (So I can't shock anything) and I felt the static even when grounded with my wrist strap.

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Reply 5 of 30, by gdjacobs

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computergeek92 wrote:

I wonder why I never killed anything while touching the plastic panel the same time as the motherboard and cards. I always touch and hold the metal on the case while working on a PC.

There's the reason.

If you were to rub the plastics on your head or something similar, I think you'd have issues.

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Reply 6 of 30, by computergeek92

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gdjacobs wrote:
computergeek92 wrote:

I wonder why I never killed anything while touching the plastic panel the same time as the motherboard and cards. I always touch and hold the metal on the case while working on a PC.

There's the reason.

If you were to rub the plastics on your head or something similar, I think you'd have issues.

Ha, that makes sense. Though it don't hurt to ponder such topics.

You already have issues if you enjoy rubbing plastic on your head now and then. 😁 Haha

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Reply 8 of 30, by Unknown_K

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I killed my first Commodore 64 back in the late 1980's because I touched a TV screen while having my hand on the keyboard (static took out the RAM chips). Some plastic can be staticy, others not so much. I keep cards in a plastic drawer shelf with no issues.

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Reply 9 of 30, by computergeek92

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Unknown_K wrote:

I killed my first Commodore 64 back in the late 1980's because I touched a TV screen while having my hand on the keyboard (static took out the RAM chips). Some plastic can be staticy, others not so much. I keep cards in a plastic drawer shelf with no issues.

I find it odd that it died so easily. And the strange fact is, some people generate static more easily than others. C64's were a keyboard-all-in-one type of system. I would've assumed they would be fine from static as long as the circuitry is not exposed by case panels being off. 😒

Off topic but kinda funny: I just found out you can click and drag on the "smilies" in your posts and play with 'em!

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Reply 10 of 30, by meljor

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No wrist straps here, a lot of parts are kept in plastic containers and bags and i have nice warm carpet on the floor of my computer room. Never had a problem.

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Reply 12 of 30, by clueless1

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computergeek92 wrote:

I guess it depends on how humid it is where you live.

There's also seasonal changes. Winter is much drier than Summer in some regions. I've gotten in the habit of touching a ground every time before reaching into a case or handling components.

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Reply 13 of 30, by candle_86

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Odd, I've worked on many a computer just sitting on the living room floor with its carpet, never once had anything die from static 🤣

Reply 14 of 30, by elianda

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computergeek92 wrote:
Unknown_K wrote:

I killed my first Commodore 64 back in the late 1980's because I touched a TV screen while having my hand on the keyboard (static took out the RAM chips). Some plastic can be staticy, others not so much. I keep cards in a plastic drawer shelf with no issues.

I find it odd that it died so easily. And the strange fact is, some people generate static more easily than others. C64's were a keyboard-all-in-one type of system. I would've assumed they would be fine from static as long as the circuitry is not exposed by case panels being off. 😒

The answer is simple, since most chips used in the C64 are based in NMOS while nowadays most chips are using HCMOS.

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Reply 15 of 30, by computergeek92

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When did they start using HCMOS chips? I don't know about these two different chip types.. What is the difference?

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Reply 16 of 30, by elianda

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According to wikipedia high end chips used mostly CMOS since 1976.
In CMOS you have a PMOS and NMOS transistor (so it's complementary) between Vdd and GND. Only in the moment of switching a current flows while in the low and high state the resistance is high. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMOS#Inversion
In NMOS however you have in the steady state always a gate current. From the sketch here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NMOS_logic
you can see that the transistors are used only in 'one direction' to pull the voltage down.

Now imagine regarding ESD you touch the gate with a high voltage where for a brief moment the small charge may flow as high current. NMOS has a low resistance and it is likely that the transistors gate gets destroyed. While on CMOS there is always one of the two transistors that has a high resistance, thus the current is orders of magnitude lower.

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Reply 17 of 30, by Kodai

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Thing to keep in mind about PC cases and the plastic on them:. the plastic in clipped or pressed into place on the chassis. This allows any build up (most plastics are capacitive in nature) to flow to the chassis. The mobo and PSU (if correctly installed) make contact with exposed mounting points to the chassis and route a common ground to it. So any static build up, should flow right to the third pin of the IEC plug and right down the power outlet.

When diagnosing or repairing electronic items I follow good antistatic procedures. But when just handling the items for building or tear down, I don't do much about it. I''ve only killed one thing in my life from static. A Celeron 300 back when they were new. I walked across a carpet in a dry winter environment with it in hand. Went to set it down and ZAP! CPU didn't work after that.

Having built over 5000 PC's in my life (stopped keeping track as a new year's resolution for the year 2000, so the number is much higher now), and I don't think a single dead component from static is that bad.

Reply 18 of 30, by carlostex

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Cold and dry weather make the ESD risk very serious, as its very easy to build up a charge. I remember on this place i used to work at night, really cold and dry and i was constantly zapping myself on the metal trolley. It actually hurts a bit, specially if you have build up a good charge.

Reply 19 of 30, by shamino

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computergeek92 wrote:
Unknown_K wrote:

I killed my first Commodore 64 back in the late 1980's because I touched a TV screen while having my hand on the keyboard (static took out the RAM chips). Some plastic can be staticy, others not so much. I keep cards in a plastic drawer shelf with no issues.

I find it odd that it died so easily. And the strange fact is, some people generate static more easily than others. C64's were a keyboard-all-in-one type of system. I would've assumed they would be fine from static as long as the circuitry is not exposed by case panels being off. 😒

Remember that the Commodore 64 was famously one of the cheapest built computers ever made in the context of it's time. It was designed to bring personal computing to "the masses, not the classes." 😀
At least speaking for myself, touching a TV screen has definitely given me stronger static charges than anything else I've ever done.