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camel
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Anti-static recommendations request

Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:56 pm

I just moved into a new apartment. It has polyester carpet everywhere but the bathroom and kitchen. I am constantly getting shocked when I touch a light switch.

Despite being enclosed in an entirely wooden desk roll-out cart, more than once, while plugging in a flight stick or earphones, the USB plug sparks, the speakers crackle, and the PC shuts off. I need to do something before the magic blue smoke comes out.

What are good solutions for this? A ground cable of some kind? An anti-static mat? Scotch Guard the carpet? Some other solution? Besides the power strip, the closest metal to the PC is either a window frame or a doorway, both about 5 ft from the PC. Pointers to particular parts would be most appreciated.
 
ludi
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Re: Anti-static recommendations request

Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:12 pm

A room humidifier, and cotton socks. No, really.

After that, then a static chair pad might help.
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DancinJack
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Re: Anti-static recommendations request

Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:14 pm

ludi wrote:
A room humidifier, and cotton socks. No, really.

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Re: Anti-static recommendations request

Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:30 pm

camel wrote:
I just moved into a new apartment. It has polyester carpet everywhere but the bathroom and kitchen. I am constantly getting shocked when I touch a light switch.

Despite being enclosed in an entirely wooden desk roll-out cart, more than once, while plugging in a flight stick or earphones, the USB plug sparks, the speakers crackle, and the PC shuts off. I need to do something before the magic blue smoke comes out.

Does the PC glitch or shut off if you discharge yourself to a metal part of the chassis instead of the port?

camel wrote:
What are good solutions for this? A ground cable of some kind?

A ground cable would help if you make sure you touch that first before trying to plug in the peripherals.

camel wrote:
An anti-static mat?

Do you mean a floor mat, or one of the benchtop anti-static mats typically used at electronics assembly workbenches?

An anti-static floor mat would reduce static generated by the carpet, but you can still build up a charge on your body, e.g. by taking off a coat or sweater. And depending on your shoes, it may take some time for any charge on your body to disspate through the mat.

Like a ground cable, a benchtop style mat will only be effective if you touch it prior to plugging in the peripherals.

camel wrote:
Scotch Guard the carpet?

I assume you mean Static Guard. Scotch Guard protects from stains, not static.

The problems with Static Guard are that it needs to be re-applied periodically for it to remain effective, and it also leaves a waxy residue which will trap dirt.

camel wrote:
Some other solution?

Humidifier?

camel wrote:
Besides the power strip, the closest metal to the PC is either a window frame or a doorway, both about 5 ft from the PC. Pointers to particular parts would be most appreciated.

I would not count on a window or door frame being a good ground. The ground lead (3rd prong) of your electrical circuit (which is normally connected to your PC's chassis via the PSU) is generally your best bet.

You could get a wired ESD wrist strap, and connect the wire to the metal case of the PC. You don't actually need to wear it all the time, just touch it for a second or two before plugging/unplugging peripherals to drain any residual charge.
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Kougar
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Re: Anti-static recommendations request

Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:12 pm

The humidifier is the only preventative solution I know of, I'd second/third that one.

The PSU housing is grounded to earth via the power plug, so as long as the power supply is in direct contact with metal of the case then touching anything metal on the chassis will ground you. A few anti-vibration case mounts might defeat this but usually the screws mounting the PSU will still provide the path. If the PC itself is affected when you touch the computer case then that can indicate something is wrong with the grounding at the wall socket.
 
bthylafh
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Re: Anti-static recommendations request

Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:25 pm

Unless your tap water is pretty soft, you'll want a hot-water humidifier. A cold-water type will leave mineral residue all over everything in range (ask me how I know this!), while a hot-water humidifier leaves the mineral crust on the heating elements; this can be remedied with strong white vinegar, a toothbrush, a screwdriver, and a little elbow grease. Do it weekly.
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Re: Anti-static recommendations request

Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:27 pm

bthylafh wrote:
Unless your tap water is pretty soft, you'll want a hot-water humidifier. A cold-water type will leave mineral residue all over everything in range (ask me how I know this!), while a hot-water humidifier leaves the mineral crust on the heating elements; this can be remedied with strong white vinegar, a toothbrush, a screwdriver, and a little elbow grease. Do it weekly.

The ultrasonic ones make the dust. Wick-based cold water units leave no dust, but need periodic wick replacement since the wick eventually gets encrusted with the minerals from the water.
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SonicSilicon
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Re: Anti-static recommendations request

Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:38 am

When we had synthetic shag carpet, we used a heavily diluted solution of fabric softener and applied it with a spray bottle. I cannot recall the approximate dilution we used, but looking around the 'Net it seems to be 1 part fabric softener to 15 parts water (i.e. a Tablesppon of softener for every cup of solution.)

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