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Danger Will Robinson! (The do's and dont's in computing)


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#1
ClareJonsson
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Danger Will Robinson
The do's and dont's in computing!


Ever wondered what would happen if you stuck your finger into an open power supply? Then wonder no more as this thread is all about safety when messing about with your hardware.

Here we hope to bring to light the point of safety in the subject matter that is, computing! So little is thought about when modding, dismantling and messing around with your systems that we thought it required a sticky in an attempt to save not only your own life, but the life of your precious hardware too!

Please don't use this thread to ask questions (open a new thread to do that), it's intended as an information resource only. If you have your own safety tips, then by all means feel free to post them here, but do check that it hasn't already been covered in previous posts.

Also, may I add that if you do not know 100% that your tip is reliable, then don't post it. False information may ruin someone's computer, especially if it's related to hardware. ~Pryomancer

Take care,
Clare.

#2
pryomancer
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Guess I'll go ahead and post one.



Maker sure there is no static built up on your body when you start fiddling with parts. It could be discharged through your hands and onto the delicate logic boards, which can destroy vital connections.

Make sure you wash your hands, dry them thoroughly and then touch something metal (your pc case is fine for this) to discharge the static that might be built up in your body. Don't worry, you won't get zapped!
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#3
ClareJonsson
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Air Vents


Never ever under any circumstances block the air vents on your PC, Console, Laptop or any electrical equipment. They are there for a specific reason, and that's to vent hot air out of the system.



Blocking these vents will cause the temperature inside the unit to rise, at the very minimum it could cause component failure, which is the very reason the vents are there in the first place. The worst case scenario could be a fire, resulting in possible death, loss of property and I am guessing your system won't work after that.



Never ever listen to anyone who offers "Blocking the vents" or "Wrapping your device up in a towel" to heat it up thus resolving dry joints as a solution to a hardware failure. You will likely do even more damage and run the risk of a fire.



What you should be doing is regularly vacuuming out dust from your system, usually just hoovering out the vents once a month is good enough. This will likely prolong the life of your system and may even make it quieter and run cooler!

#4
Nadril
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^ I wonder where that came from... :mrgreen:





Ehm, don't cut yourself while putting in your new video card. It sounds stupid but I did that when I installed my 9600GT while building my current PC. I swear there is still some dried blood on it probably. :oops: Yeah, I don't have much to add right now, just wanted to say great idea for a thread.

#5
ClareJonsson
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PSU

Power Supply Units


If the power supply on your system dies, never attempt to open it up and poke around in a futile attempt to get the poorly deceased thing working again.



Power supplies not only are the point where you can come into contact with live mains, but most PSUs are switch mode power units and could seriously harm you with the high frequency switching circuitry. Even after the PSU is off and unplugged from the mains, it still has capacitors that are could be charged, so don't go sticking your finger in there and wiggling it around hoping to see a spark of life.



Power supplies have no user serviceable parts inside and should never be opened. Some PSUs have a fuse that can be changed without the need to open the unit, this should be perfectly safe to do.



I have actually seen someone having a shock from a PSU inside a television, he was thrown back and landed in a glass cabinet behind him. That was one of the scariest things I had seen.

#6
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Cheap cases normally have sharp edges which really hurt. If your buying a cheap case expect sharp edges and be careful of the corners.

[Had numerous cuts from cheap cases and I've learnt my lesson]



Beware when replacing or removing the cpu heatsink, if it feels likes its stuck on check the pins/clasps. If its still feels stuck carefully lift it upwards.

[I pulled mine clean off and bent the pins (now my cpu has one less pin, lol), if only I can been more careful]



Duct tape leaves sticky patches on the case which attracts ducts like crazy, so if your using duct tape only use it where you don't plan on removing it. Otherwise with cable/zip ties.



Take your time, don't rush. If you rush into building a PC it will end up taking long to complete then if you prepare and take your time.
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#7
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Alway double check the mounting posts when fitting a motherboard, a misplaced post can scrape or short a track.





A more basic one, it is better not to use USB powered fans, cleaners, lights, aquariums, cup warmers, chargers etc. as many of them do not comply with USB specifications and may draw more power than is safely available from the port.

#8
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Make sure your grounded before touching your computer components. If you don't know how to do that, don't do it at all!

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#9
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Air Vents




What you should be doing is regularly vacuuming out dust from your system, usually just hoovering out the vents once a month is good enough. This will likely prolong the life of your system and may even make it quieter and run cooler!




I'd like to add: Caution while cleaning your hardware parts.

A hoover is fine for the outside, but i wouldn't really recommend it when cleaning inside the computer. If you are using the hoover to clean dust out, don't have one with a metal pipe and never touch the components with it.

What i would do (and i do, do it) is using a can with compressed air, costs about 4 euros and lasts a long time.



Nice initiative btw.

J'adore aussi le sexe et les snuff movies
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#10
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[Re]formatting



There comes a time in every computer's lifecycle when it has to be reformatted, to either put a new partition on it, or to get rid of old data. This is to be expected with many machines, and is becoming more and more of a necessity in the case of users that dual-boot.



Some tips before you go and click that button:



1) Keep that in the back of your mind that a reformat is practically irreversible. If you do it, back up whatever you wanted to keep.

2) Tools that can help you reformat are available freely, namely gparted and any Linux distribution. If you downloaded it from a dodgy-looking site, or acquired a pirated copy of some professional reformat tool (like White Canyon), don't use it. It could ruin the hard disk, or prevent it from ever booting.

3) If you've already formatted and partitioned your hard disk to the way you want it, be absolutely sure that you're installing the operating system on the right partition.

4) Lastly, don't use a reformat to solve an otherwise canonical computer problem (i.e. virus or malware or sluggish performance), unless you have already exhausted your other options. As stated before, you can't [really] reverse a format job, and if all you need to do is remove a virus or improve your machine's performance, there are other ways to accomplish those goals, namely with Antivirus, defragmenting, removing unused/bloated programs, and cleaning out your browser's cache. (Trust me, it helps.)

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#11
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[Apologies for the double post, didn't think that these two belonged together.]



Registry and MSconfig



The Windows Registry can be viewed as the spinal chord of the entire OS -- it basically controls every aspect about it, and one little tweak to it can mean the difference between a slightly quicker machine, or no machine at all. MSconfig controls the startup programs, which is a set "list" of programs that start on startup. Many people look to this option to improve boot/load times, and while it helps a lot, disabling the wrong startup objects can mean that your system won't work properly.



Tips:



1) [Registry] If you don't know what you're changing, don't freaking change it. One false change to ANY value, and that program may not work, or worse -- a critical system application will fail to run.

2) [Registry] Registry cleaners, while novel and generally safe, don't truly improve your system performance. What they do is get rid of the left-over gunk and residue from long-uninstalled programs. If those values are never accessed, they don't really slow the machine down.

3) [MSconfig] Yes, turning off everything on boot will improve system speed by a huge step, as the system won't have to turn on a lot of stuff just to get online. However, you have to know *what* to turn off. If you're going to do that, go to the "Startup" tab, and untick or tick the options that you would like disabled/enabled. If you're not sure what it is, or what it controls, you'll have to leave it alone for now, and look it up later.

4) In either case, if you're absolutely unsure of what you're doing with this tool, don't even think about touching it. It's not worth the risk.

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#12
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Alway double check the mounting posts when fitting a motherboard, a misplaced post can scrape or short a track.





A more basic one, it is better not to use USB powered fans, cleaners, lights, aquariums, cup warmers, chargers etc. as many of them do not comply with USB specifications and may draw more power than is safely available from the port.




You can draw more power than spec safely. The only thing that would happen is that it would not work if there wasn't enough power. If the device runs over the power spec, always plug it into the computer directly or by a powered (getting power from the wall) usb hub.
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Alway double check the mounting posts when fitting a motherboard, a misplaced post can scrape or short a track.





A more basic one, it is better not to use USB powered fans, cleaners, lights, aquariums, cup warmers, chargers etc. as many of them do not comply with USB specifications and may draw more power than is safely available from the port.




You can draw more power than spec safely. The only thing that would happen is that it would not work if there wasn't enough power. If the device runs over the power spec, always plug it into the computer directly or by a powered (getting power from the wall) usb hub.




All i know is that the OS will warn the user if more power is needed from the USB than is available.

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Et comme personne ne viendra me réclamer
Je terminerai comme un objet retrouvé


#14
ClareJonsson
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Here's what will really happen:



A single USB will supply a finite amount of juice, and that's it. It will not overload the system and if the device you plugged in requires more than a single port can supply then it will simply not have enough power to function. Please note the OS will not know this as it has no way of knowing how much energy is required to power the device effectively. This is is why a lot of 2.5" USB hard drives have dual USB plugs, so you have the added ampage from a 2nd port!

#15
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Guess I'll go ahead and post one.



Maker sure there is no static built up on your body when you start fiddling with parts. It could be discharged through your hands and onto the delicate logic boards, which can destroy vital connections.

Make sure you wash your hands, dry them thoroughly and then touch something metal (your pc case is fine for this) to discharge the static that might be built up in your body. Don't worry, you won't get zapped!




An anti-static wristband will help, so long as you have something to discharge to(a part of your case will work nicely)



I just will make a note of not tampering with your hard drive. If the top pops off, it's ruined, because the distance between the contacts and the "plates" on the hard drive is smaller than the size of a strand of hair. Pushing it wont help.


I was going to eat hot dogs for dinner tonight. I think I will settle for cereal.


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#16
ClareJonsson
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Guess I'll go ahead and post one.



Maker sure there is no static built up on your body when you start fiddling with parts. It could be discharged through your hands and onto the delicate logic boards, which can destroy vital connections.

Make sure you wash your hands, dry them thoroughly and then touch something metal (your pc case is fine for this) to discharge the static that might be built up in your body. Don't worry, you won't get zapped!




An anti-static wristband will help, so long as you have something to discharge to(a part of your case will work nicely)



I just will make a note of not tampering with your hard drive. If the top pops off, it's ruined, because the distance between the contacts and the "plates" on the hard drive is smaller than the size of a strand of hair. Pushing it wont help.


Correct, the distance is less than 5 microns so even a spec of dust could wreck the heads or platter surface.

Rule of thumb: NEVER EVER open a hard drive up! The industry have special dust free rooms for doing this for a very good reason.

#17
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Here's one, even though it might not apply to all television sets.......





'TV's & 'A/V from PC'




If you're hooking up audio to feed to a TV, make sure you provide a video feed with it. Some TVs will not allow the audio to play without a video feed backing it. Also, if you're having to provide a video feed, make sure that you use the best link cable that you can between your video card and TV. :geek:



(e.g.: HDMI/DVI > S-Video > Composite ... and yes, HDMI and DVI are 2 different things... I just haven't gotten to see an HDMI video feed from a PC, ever ... But, I figure it is as good as DVI or better!)





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#18
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[snip]




My TV allows me to play with only an audio feed. In fact, any TV I have ever owned has allowed me to do that. And anyways doing such a thing wouldn't break anything or prove to be even remotely dangerous. :?

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D. V. Devnull
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[snip]




My TV allows me to play with only an audio feed. In fact, any TV I have ever owned has allowed me to do that. And anyways doing such a thing wouldn't break anything or prove to be even remotely dangerous. :?

I'm the poor idiot who's working with a Panasonic TV here at my parents' home... and BTW, I know it wouldn't break anything or be dangerous, but it definitely helps to know the causes of some issues and leave a hint for others who might have the problem. Kinda thought that not having newbies screaming over this kind of thing would be a good idea, too. ;) ... So, please, don't kill me, alright? I didn't quite think completely about the opening part of Clare's thread title anyway. :oops:



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#20
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[snip]




My TV allows me to play with only an audio feed. In fact, any TV I have ever owned has allowed me to do that. And anyways doing such a thing wouldn't break anything or prove to be even remotely dangerous. :?

I'm the poor idiot who's working with a Panasonic TV here at my parents' home... and BTW, I know it wouldn't break anything or be dangerous, but it definitely helps to know the causes of some issues and leave a hint for others who might have the problem. Kinda thought that not having newbies screaming over this kind of thing would be a good idea, too. ;) ... So, please, don't kill me, alright? I didn't quite think completely about the opening part of Clare's thread title anyway. :oops:



~D. V. Devnull






Then wonder no more as this thread is all about safety when messing about with your hardware.






Not going to argue and spam up this topic anyways.




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