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Handling Components Correctly - Handling Components Correctly
Tue, August 19 2003 | 7:22PM | PermaLink Feedback?
When handling computer components like motherboards, videcards, memory, or even a hard drive it is best to hold them by the edges. If you hold that videocard (for example) by the edges the PCB it is less likely that your fingers will even come in contact with any conductors, decreasing the chance of causing any ESD damage further still. This is not only a good precaution, it is also a good habit as any Electrical Engineer will tell you. Certain electrical components (namely capacitors) can store an electrical charge even after the power has been disconnected for sometime that can deliver a nasty shock, or kill if they are sufficiently powerful enough... Don't worry though, all the components we'll be installing in the computer are more afraid of you, and don't carry enough charge to cause you harm. Still, grabbing a board of electronics like you would a sandwich puts your fingers in direct contact with the little metal leads from soldered-on electrical components. If for example, your finger came in contact with the leads from a powerful enough charged capacitor you could get a very strong shock. The opposite rings true if you happen to grab a videocard when you're all charged up with static electricity. Instead of receiving a nasty arm-zapping shock, you may just deliver a nasty bolt of static electricity to a sensitive microchip - damaging it in the process.
Original URL, circa 2003:

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