The feeling of accomplishment when you successfully fix or build your very own PC is unparalleled. While learning the technical aspect of things is very crucial, it is just as important to ensure that you are also taking the necessary safety precautions- not just for yourself but also for your PC.
The major threat to your electronics during PC building comes from electrostatic discharge. As you move around and touch things, you start to accumulate static charges which can discharge unsafely whenever you touch a PC part.
Here is a related article that might interest you on How Do You Wash Anti Static Coats?
This has the potential to seriously damage sensitive electronic components. That is why a lot of PC builders use devices like anti static wrist straps.
What are Anti Static Wrist Straps?
Anti static straps are devices that you can place on your wrist and use to ground yourself. Its purpose is to ground you and keep your work setting safe from the dangers of unanticipated static discharge.
The strap serves to balance out the voltage difference between your body and the equipment you are working with so that there is no transfer of charges.
Is Using an Anti Static Wrist Strap Necessary While Building PCs?
In my opinion and experience, yes. You can opt for alternative ways to ground yourself, but I think having that surety of safety with an anti static strap is definitely worth it.
When Should I Use an Anti Static Wrist Wrap?
If you are working closely with any electronics, then it is recommended that you use anti static devices, wrist straps being one of the more convenient and effective options.
For example, they are definitely a big help for PC builders or experts who work in the electronics manufacturing industry.
Should I Wear My Wrist Strap on the Left or Right Hand?
There is no official rule dictating which wrist to wear your anti static wrist strap on. It is largely a matter of personal preference and convenience.
Say your grounding point or outlet is located on the left side of your work station. In this case, it would make sense to wear the strap on your left wrist so that the cords don’t drag across your work space.
Do I Have to Wear an Anti Static Wrist Strap on My Hand?
Not necessarily! It is simply named the anti static wrist strap because the wrist is one of the most convenient locations to put it.
Some people like to wear it up on their arm, others may even put it on their ankle. As long as you are grounding yourself properly, it should be effective.
Are There Any Situations When I Should NOT Wear an Anti Static Wrist Strap?
Not really. There are no situations where you need to take the anti static wrist strap stop to specifically perform an action. There are no dangers associated with the use of an anti static wrist strap in any given situation. However, there are some PC building activities that may not necessitate grounding yourself- they may be safe to perform without your anti static wrist strap.
For example, say you just need to fit a hard drive into one of your laptop’s quick access panels- you do not necessarily need to stop everything to go find and put on your anti static wrist strap. You can perform this action without grounding yourself. However, any task that involves dismantling the PC or touching any major electrical components should be done with static protection.
Do Different Wrist Strap Colours Mean Something?
Nope! There is no special colour coding for anti static wrist straps. The colours are simply for aesthetic purposes so you can choose one you like the best!
Are There Different Types of Anti Static Wrist Straps?
There are many different brands that manufacture good quality anti static wrist straps. In regards to types of anti static wrist straps, you can find straps made of different fabrics and materials.
Some are woven with carbon for better conduction, some are designed with hypoallergenic material for sensitive skin, and some are even made with stainless steel for a super cool look.
What are the Best Anti Static Wrist Straps for PC Building?
If you were to ask me, I think the following are some of the best, most effective anti static wrist straps you can purchase:
1. Rosewill Anti Static Wrist Strap
The Rosewill Anti Static Wrist Strap is one of the most popular choices in the world of PC building and for good reason. I have personally used it to really great results as well. It comes with a pretty ong cord and it is pretty cheap for the quality of the material.
2. Vastar ESD Anti Static Wrist Strap
Compared to other options, the Vastar ESD Strap leans a bit towards the smaller size but it is just as good at offering anti static protection. It comes with a coiled cord which makes it flexible and the wrist strap is adjustable so it fits pretty snugly.
3. iFixit Anti-Static Wrist Strap
This is an excellent, super stretchy, adjustable wrist strap (it can go up to size XL with a circumference of 8.25 inches). It has a polyester strap with a stainless steel weave which is pretty cool. It comes with a fairly long cord and an alligator clip.
4. KingWin Anti Static Wrist Strap
I find the KingWin Anti Static Wrist Strap to be one of the more comfortable straps that I have used in the past. It comes with a coiled cord which makes it more durable and also easier to move around with.
When Should I Replace My Anti Static Wrist Strap?
There is no set rule on when you should replace your anti static wrist strap. Generally, you can refer to the brand recommendations or product lifespan given on the packaging of your strap.
You just have to make a good judgement based on your level of use and the condition of the strap.
How to Ground Yourself with an Anti Static Wrist Strap?
A lot of the time, people fail to use their anti static wrist straps accurately. There is no benefit of using a strap if you are not grounding yourself properly with it. To start off, make sure that the metallic part of the strap is in contact with the skin of the wrist.
Now there are multiple ways you can ground your anti static wrist strap. You can either connect it to an electrical ground line from an outlet or you can clip it to a free-standing ground.
How to Ground Anti Static Wrist Strap With Power Supply?
Wear your wrist strap as explained above. Make sure that the power supply to the outlet is turned OFF. Plug in your power cord to the outlet.
Take the alligator clip and attach it to a power supply screw. Make sure that the screw is bare metal. This will allow the charge to dissipate and ground you.
How to Ground Anti Static Wrist Strap With a Grounding Pin?
Wear your wrist strap as explained above. Before attaching your alligator clip to the pin, make sure that you are aware which one is the grounding pin. DO NOT attach the clip to the outlet without confirming the location of the grounding pin as you may risk being electrocuted.
Once you know, make sure the switch is turned OFF and attach the clip to the grounding pin of the outlet. This will ground you.
How to Ground Anti Static Wrist Strap With a Free-Standing Ground?
Wear your wrist strap as explained above. Turn off your PC. attach the alligator clip to an unpainted part of the metal chassis of the computer. Make sure the computer part is clean and unpainted, otherwise you may fail to ground yourself.
Once you have grounded yourself using the anti static wrist strap, you can start working on your station free of concern for ESD!