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Fitting Computer Memory

Some electronic components are very susceptible to damage from static electricity. The damage will be completely invisible. What happens is that internal connections, which are just a few micrometres thick, get melted like fuse wire. However, if they don't get melted right through but simply get narrowed the memory device can work for months before failing. You can minimize the risk by careful (= sensible) handling procedures.

The point you must appreciate is that only a DIFFERENCE in voltage between you and the component can cause damage. So if you are at a voltage of 10,000 volts AND the component is also at 10,000 volts (with respect to ground) then no damage will be done.

First, try to reduce the risk. Wear cotton clothing with a minimum of synthetic fibres. Don't wear tights, stockings or anything made from synthetic fibres because this generates a high voltage when rubbed - as you may have noticed if you ever stepped out of a car that has brushed nylon seat covers!

Power down the computer.

The computer is grounded via the green-yellow wire in the mains cable. Leave this cable connected but FOR SAFETY SAKE switch off the wall socket! (This is essential. If there's no wall switch then use an extension lead which has a switch). Wait half an hour for the computer to cool down and for internal capacitors to discharge.

Open up the computer. Touch the first metal part of the computer that you see. You are now at the same (hopefully zero) voltage as the computer. If there was any static charge on your body, it has flowed to ground via the green-yellow wire in the mains cable. You can now remove that cable for increased safety. Remove any existing memory chip if necessary and keep hold of it by its edges only.

The new memory chip is supplied inside a bag which is conductive and shielded. When you touch the bag, it is at the same potential as you. With one finger on the computer metalwork, pick up the bag and remove the chip. Put the old chip inside the bag and put the bag down where you won't stand on it. Put the new chip into its slot in the computer and flip the tabs to secure it.

Close up the computer, insert power cord, flip wall switch to energise.

Read more about static electricity - click HERE

Copyright ©2005 SatCure
Updated March 19, 2005
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