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Safety regarding USB devices

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Dec 14, 2005.

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  1. Guest


    I was using my desktop computer the other day. I had my digital memory
    card reader connected to my PC via its USB port.

    First I downloaded some digital camera pictures through the reader.
    Then I just went on to do other stuff with PC without turning the
    reader off. After I done checking my e-mails etc, I remembered the
    reader was still on, so I reached out to turn the power off. As soon
    as my hand touched the metal case of the reader, I got a mild electric
    shock, and my pc and reader's power tripped off as well. At the
    time, I was really surprised and worried my pc and reader might get
    fried. Fortunately they are ok.

    My pc sits on the carpeted floor. The reader has a metal case and was
    rested on a plastic box near my computer. I'm still puzzled how this
    happened. How do I prevent it from happening again in the future?

  2. Dave Cohen

    Dave Cohen Guest

    You can buy special mats, not sure what they call them, anti-static
    something or other perhaps. Anyway, check the larger office stores then read
    the item's recommendations. What probably happened is your body got charged
    up until you touched the grounded piece of equipment which allowed the
    discharge. Repair technicians put on a special wrist strap which is then
    grounded to the frame when handling memory, chips etc. (at least they should
    do that!).
    Dave Cohen
  3. Static Electricity is generated in many ways. It can be from walking on
    that carpet, rubbing your pants against the chair, the chair against the
    floor, etc., etc.

    You're really lucky you didn't damage your computer or your USB device.
    To help prevent this from happening in the future:
    First make sure your computer equipment is powered from a properly
    grounded outlet, and the case is grounded.
    Then, before you touch any plug, jack, button, switch, etc. touch your
    computer's metal case in an area AWAY FROM any jack, switch, etc.

    Ideally any exposed metal should be grounded but if there's a broken
    ground you could fry your computer.

    While you're sitting at the computer, make it a habit to touch your
    computer's case every five or ten minutes, because as you move a charge
    can build up on you.

    My method is having a metal plate near my keyboard which is securely
    connected to the case, so I don't have to reach down to the tower
  4. pjp

    pjp Guest

    Carpeted floor and slippers etc. with rubber soles does it for me, good zap
    touching anything grounded., especially in winter when airs drier and wood
    stoves cooking. I have my workstation resting on old metal highway signs
    (back shiny side up) "scrounged" off roadside(s). Never have had problem
  5. The Stovalls

    The Stovalls Guest

    Our church had a similar problem with static buildup, & after some research,
    I started spraying the floors once a week with a solution of fabric softener
    & 1/2 cup of vinegar in a pump type garden sprayer. Put enough fabric
    softener to cover the vinegar smell & keep well agitated during spraying.
    After 2 months of regular spraying, the static problem just disappeared
    completely! Hope this helps!!!!

  6. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    It's called static electricity, you can get a shock by touching anything
    at a substantially different electrical potential than yourself,
    doorknob, refrigerator, car door, screws holding the plate on a
    lightswitch, etc. Those are all things I get annoying shocks from
    frequently this time of year when the air is dry.
  7. RobG

    RobG Guest

    Don't power-up the system?

    Just my initial thought...

  8. Ron(UK)

    Ron(UK) Guest

    He`ll probably still get the clouts as long as the computer is earthed,
    It`s most likely him that is charged up and dumping the charge to earth.
    Less likely to do any damage to the puter tho, I imagine.

    Try running your hand all over a crt face when it`s just been turned on,
    then holding your knuckle near a water pipe or radiator.

  9. N Cook

    N Cook Guest

    I am surprised so few people know of this tip for where they regularly get
    static electricity shocks
    from walking across carpets.
    Have a key or coin between the fingers and touch the locker or whatever with
    that first and it distributes the current so although you may see the
    discharge you don't feel anything.
  10. Tim Smith

    Tim Smith Guest

    More specifically, I believe that the reason this works is that it is
    not actually the flow of current through your finger that hurts when you
    experience a static shock, but rather the arc itself that hurts you.

    So, by making the arc attach to the key instead of to your finger, you
    don't feel the pain.
  11. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    We have a bottle of anti-static spray in the lab at work which is pretty
    effective, but you've gotta do it at the end of the day because it reeks
    like all sorts of nasty solvents, I think I like the vinegar and fabric
    softener idea better but I'd be concerned about corrosion.
  12. Ron Hunter

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Most carpet cleaning companies will anti-static treat your carpets. I
    recommend this if you live in a dry climate, or one in the northern tier
    of states/countries where heating during the winter drives down the
    humidity inside.
  13. distar97

    distar97 Guest

    The key and coin trick work well but its more fun to use a small
    fluorescent tube.
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