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  1. #1
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    I have recently moved into a new room with carpet and for some reason, static electricity is generated each time I walk around. Thus, it is frequent that when I go to turn on my computer in the morning, I get an electric shock. Should I be concerned that this is going to harm my memory or motherboard and if so, are there any suggestions as to how to reduce the shock?

    Regards,

    JMT

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmt356 View Post
    I have recently moved into a new room with carpet and for some reason, static electricity is generated each time I walk around. Thus, it is frequent that when I go to turn on my computer in the morning, I get an electric shock. Should I be concerned that this is going to harm my memory or motherboard and if so, are there any suggestions as to how to reduce the shock?

    Regards,

    JMT
    Yes, you certainly should be worried. The best thing to do is to have an earthed piece of metal somewhere near your laptop and touch this before touching your laptop.

  3. #3
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    Hello Stuart,

    I have a metal lamp on my desk that I sometimes touch before turning on the laptop. The lamp gives me a slight shocke, but I still get a slight shock after I turn on my laptop. Is it because the lamp is painted and so is not absorbing all of the static electricity? I am not sure what else to do, since everything in my room is pretty much made of wood. If I brought in a piece of metal to touch, would that help, or does it actually have ot be something attached to the ground?

    Regards,

    JMT

  4. #4
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    Just touching a loose piece of metal won't help.

    See for example How to Ground Yourself to Avoid Destroying a Computer with Electrostatic Discharge.

  5. #5
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    Hans, isn't that article only for those who are opening up their PCs, as opposed to those who are discussing daily use?

    Does the metal I touch to ground myself have to be unpainted and connected to the ground?

    Will using an adaptor that has three prongs instead of two help to avoid destroying my computer through shocks?

    Regards,

    jmt

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmt356 View Post
    Hans, isn't that article only for those who are opening up their PCs, as opposed to those who are discussing daily use?

    Does the metal I touch to ground myself have to be unpainted and connected to the ground?

    Will using an adaptor that has three prongs instead of two help to avoid destroying my computer through shocks?

    Regards,

    jmt
    That article was aimed at people who are opening up their PCs, but you can also destroy your laptop with with the covers on, if your discharge via one of it's connections to the outside world. You really do need to discharge this static electricity to ground in a way that doesn't go via the laptop.

    If you can't find another way then buy an antistatic mat, put it on your desk and plug it in so that it has a good path to earth.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmt356 View Post
    ....are there any suggestions as to how to reduce the shock?
    No one seems to have covered the prevention side. You'll find plenty of tips out in Google-land, but things I would suggest are:

    • Wear cotton where possible, and avoid synthetic materials, particularly for socks.
    • In my experience, the single most likely culprit (in conjunction with the carpet) is the material the soles of your shoes are made from. If practical, wear leather soles or no shoes at all.
    • The drier the atmosphere, the higher the likelihood of static build up. If your room is particularly dry, a damp cloth on a radiator can make a big difference.
    • You can get anti-static spray for carpets, but it's not always practical to use.
    • Lick your finger before touching it to ground yourself and discharge any static build-up. Dry skin doesn't conduct well (but can act as a good capacitor!)
    • Ditch the carpet!

    I'm not exactly Imelda Marcos, but I do have a few pairs of shoes stored in a cupboard I cannot wear because of the material they are made from - one day we'll change the flooring at work and it'll be safe to bring them out!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leif View Post
    I'm not exactly Imelda Marcos, but I do have a few pairs of shoes stored in a cupboard I cannot wear because of the material they are made from -
    Leif,

    You really do have to stop wearing cupboards. I don't care what material they are made of. It really does give people the wrong impression.

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuartR View Post
    Leif,

    You really do have to stop wearing cupboards. I don't care what material they are made of. It really does give people the wrong impression.
    Argh! My secret is out - I'm a closet closet.....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leif View Post
    Argh! My secret is out - I'm a closet closet.....
    Oh, come out of it!

  11. #11
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    I knew it! It was this central air heating that is the culprit. I'm used to my home back east that has radiators, but my current home has central air heating which dries the air! No wonder I haven't been getting shocks these past few days, when I have had the heat turned down.

    Can I just hang a wet towel on my door? Will that do the trick?

    Don't you think that licking my finger will cause it to become more of a conductor of electricity?

    Regards,

    JMT

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmt356 View Post
    I knew it! It was this central air heating that is the culprit. I'm used to my home back east that has radiators, but my current home has central air heating which dries the air! No wonder I haven't been getting shocks these past few days, when I have had the heat turned down.

    Can I just hang a wet towel on my door? Will that do the trick?

    Don't you think that licking my finger will cause it to become more of a conductor of electricity?

    Regards,

    JMT
    If it is a severe problem you ought to consider adding a humidifier to the heating system.

    Joe
    Joe

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmt356 View Post
    ...
    Can I just hang a wet towel on my door? Will that do the trick?

    Don't you think that licking my finger will cause it to become more of a conductor of electricity?
    The wet towel may well help, it is certainly worth a try, but if the problem is severe then the towel will dry out very quickly.

    Licking your finger will NOT help. The problem is that the dry air is not conducting static electricity away from your body, licking your finger will not provide a path for this static to travel from your body to earth.

  14. #14
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmt356 View Post
    Don't you think that licking my finger will cause it to become more of a conductor of electricity?
    Yes, when you use it to touch something to ground yourself (like a grounding mat or metal lamp), it won't increase the static build up. On its own, licking your finger won't do anything, except tell you which way the wind is blowing

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