Question How do I properly ground myself when building pc

Aug 6, 2018
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So I have a basic understanding on how grounding works...

You install PSU in the case, plug it to the outlet with the PSU switch turned OFF... except in my scenario, I'll be plugging the PSU in a surge protector board with a switch on it... and then to the wall outlet... which ALSO has a switch on it. Oh and I live in Australia by the way. Wall outlets also have ON/OFF switches...

So my question is, do I also turn ON the wall outlet and the surge protector switches? but of course making sure the PSU switch is OFF.

I also have an antistatic wristband and mat, and I think they'd be useless without the case being properly grounded. Just taking extra precautions.

Thanks!
 

taeioum

Upstanding
Jan 27, 2019
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If I'm correct, it shouldn't matter whether the wall socket is turned on or off. The ground should work regardless. To be sure, you could turn on the wall outlets on but keep your PSU off.

I have electric wristbands too, but I find them horrifying. You have no mobility with them, especially not when trying to work on both sides of the computer case at the same time. Touch your computer every once in a while and you'll be golden. Just don't rub your feet too much ;)
 
Reactions: Mandark
Aug 6, 2018
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If I'm correct, it shouldn't matter whether the wall socket is turned on or off. The ground should work regardless. To be sure, you could turn on the wall outlets on but keep your PSU off.

I have electric wristbands too, but I find them horrifying. You have no mobility with them, especially not when trying to work on both sides of the computer case at the same time. Touch your computer every once in a while and you'll be golden. Just don't rub your feet too much ;)
Thankyou for your reply! yeah it's kind of hard to know if it matters or not.

As for the antistatic wristbands, I was thinking of strapping it on my ankle. And i'll make sure to touch the metal every so often!
 

taeioum

Upstanding
Jan 27, 2019
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Not a problem, man. I tinker with my cable management, AIO location and swapped a couple parts lately. I don't even bother putting the wristbands on anymore. You're working on your computer, just have bare skin touching the case and you'll be just fine.
 

tennis2

Respectable
Unplug your computer from power when you're working on it. It's not hard to pull the chord out of the back of a PSU.

To ground yourself, touch the case with both your wrists before you dig in. Simple. Easy. Fast.
 
I think you've done it right, and I disagree with tennis2. If your case is completely isolated from everything with no outside connection, it is NOT grounded and can acquire a charge. Further, it cannot remove a charge from you when you touch it. Having it connected via electrical power cords to a wall outlet does provide the required Ground connection (subject to comments below), while having the switches in those connections all turned off eliminates actual electrical power from your system.

My comments above assume that your country's electrical system has designs and rules similar to ours and many in the world. It also assumes your particular house adheres to those designs and rules.
  1. The wiring system includes in all power supply lines to wall outlets, and in all cords from wall outlets to devices, at least three wires. One is the "Hot" line with power from the source, one is a Neutral line to return current in the device circuit back to the source, and the third is a Ground line that is ALWAYS connected only to a secure earth Ground and is NEVER subject to disconnection by a switch. By way of explanation, in Canada where I live, the Ground line in any power cable in the wall (from breaker panel to wall outlet) actually is bare copper not insulated within the cable jacket. It is never supposed to be carrying any current at all, except in an emergency abnormal condition when it carries stray currents directly to Ground easily (because it has no other current), causing the load on the Hot line to get so high it trips the breaker to shut off the supply. In cords from the wall outlet to user devices, the Ground line normally DOES have its own insulation cover (typically Green) inside the cable cover. Our system in houses uses what is called a "Grounded Neutral" distribution system. That is, at the transformer on the pole outside, and again at the breaker panel inside the house, the Neutral line (for current return) is actually connected to a true earth Ground, so that line is a zero-voltage reference point for the power system. This line DOES carry currents all the time, so it cannot be treated as a true safe Ground. Other countries have somewhat different designs for the Hot and Neutral lines - I don't know yours.
  2. Wall outlets here provide three contacts. Our arrangement includes two vertical straight-line slots beside each other, and a third round opening centred between those but on a different horizontal level. Typically the wall outlet is set up so these form a triangle with the round hole for Ground at the bottom of an "upside-down" triangle. Looking at the outlet, the LEFT vertical slot is for Neutral, and it is larger (Height) than the right-hand Hot slot. Of course, the blades of a plug on a cord end match these and there's only one way to plug it in. But also there are many devices that do NOT include a round Ground prong - they have only the two flat blades. But even these are supposed to have the Hot blade smaller than the Neutral blade, so there is still only one way to plug it in, and user devices cannot be connected to power backwards.
  3. Throughout North America these designs have changed over decades. A century ago (and commonly up to the 1950's or later) the cabling system in the house did NOT include any Ground wire - there were only the Hot and Neutral. Moreover, the outlets at that time did not used slots of different sizes, so it was easy to plug any two-prong plug into any wall outlet in either orientation. That could allow the user device to be connected "backwards" to the power source. Design of devices was supposed to prevent any problems from such a connection, but were not always done properly. This also meant that in many houses you could not tell by looking at the two-slot outlet which one was Hot. Today there are still many houses with such systems in place, making it impossible to use modern cables and plugs with included Ground and rigidly identified Hot and Neutral connections. Unfortunately some people use adapters and change wiring connections improperly, creating the possibility of hazardous wiring connections.
So, as I said, IF you have not done odd things and your own house wiring is relatively current (no pun intended), what you have done is correct. The ONLY alternative, which requires a little more effort, is to rig your own special Ground connection from the case you are working on to a reliable true earth Ground, and then disconnect any other connection at all from the case and its PSU. Reaching a good Ground can be tricky. But if your wall outlets include a true Ground in them, you can rig your own single-wire connection from the Ground prong of a standard electrical plug (with no Hot or Neutral lines) directly to a secure connection to your case.
 

jay32267

Distinguished
"If your case is completely isolated from everything with no outside connection, it is NOT grounded and can acquire a charge. Further, it cannot remove a charge from you when you touch it. "

The first part of this is correct.

However....it can remove a charge because it can be at a different potential than your body is at and if this is the case....charge will flow until you and the case are at the same potential via the contact resistance between you and the case using ohms law.

As far as wrist straps....I have worked....and still do...in an electronics plant for 30 years and all I find necessary to do is to ground myself to the case. I don't use wrist straps.

If you are not careful (meaing you forget to touch the case) then wear a wrist strap.
 

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