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Author Topic: Hardware work - general tips  (Read 13077 times)

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    Hardware work - general tips
    « on: April 17, 2006, 07:51:28 PM »
    General Tips for working inside your computer

    • Power the system down. This is of utmost importance. Removing components with the power on WILL destroy your motherboard, if you're lucky only that. Guaranteed.

    • Keep the system plugged in. Off, but plugged in. Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) is static electricity, and we accumulate this every day. However, this is murder to machines. Touching the case when opened will cause ESD to discharge. However, plugging it in with the power off will ground the machine, and the ESD will go safely into the wall.

    • Touch the inside of the chassis before working. Anywhere inside the PC where there is bare sheet metal will do. This will ground the chassis before you do any work, and prevent ESD problems. Another good method of putting you in the clear is anti-static gloves - they're cheap ($5 USD near where I live) and almost any PC store should carry them.

    • Do not hold hardware with connecter pins by the pins with your bare hand. This includes video cards, network adapters, memory and other items with gold-colored pins arrayed in a straight line. Touching them with bare hands can destroy the hardware. However, you should be OK if you brought the hardware over to the machine safely, ground yourself by touching the chassis again, and then handling it with your bare hands. After all, how else are you going to get it in there?

    • Look for screws when removing hardware. NEVER rip a chip or board out of a PC; most of them are screwed in, and the ones that aren't are memory chips held in by tabs (or CPU colling units, which appear to be held on by God's grace alone but are similar to "snap-on" connections). This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people have done just that: rip a board right out (destroying it, of course).

    • If it doesn't fit, DO NOT "make it" fit. Sometimes a memory chip is a tight fit, and some PCI cards are very resistant, but if you are not sure that this is the case, stop work immediately. You will never force a AGP video card into a PCI slot. You cannot force a memory chip into anything but the memory slot. If it doesn't fit, it doesn't go there. Again, may seem like a no-brainer, but some of the things I've seen people do frighten me...

    • If you are trying to troubleshoot, change out only one item at a time. This way, you will know immediately if something is wrong. Test memory one chip at a time. Don't change the memory and the motherboard at the same time; if one is faulty, you won't know which one unless you keep your patience and test one item at a time.

    • On difficult problems, keep aspirin nearby. This may not seem like a necessity, but it is. Frustrating problems will give you a migraine, and it's good to keep that Tylenol at hand.
    This list does not cover all tips for hardware work and is not a replacement for manuals and actual experience. However, it should cover the basics of making your operations as painless as possible.
    « Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 02:46:21 AM by Dilbert »
    "The geek shall inherit the Earth."