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Preparations and Precautions prior to a PC Upgrade

Electrostatic Precautions

There are very few specialised tools needed to upgrade your PC, beyond what you'd normally need when working on the electrics around your house. If have some spare cash, the following are always useful, but are not strictly necessary if you are careful:

There are very few specialized tools needed to upgrade your PC, beyond what you'd normally need when working on the electrics around your house

  • Anti-static mat and/or wrist strap: this is an electrically conductive mat that you can place equipment on -or band that is slipped over the wrist - which you can attach to a earth point (-such as a radiator pipe) which ensures any static on you clothes or body is safely discharged before it damages sensitive electronic components. The photo below shows a mat with a wrist strip (blue) and grounding wire (black):

    A typical anti static mat and wrist strap

    If you do not intend to purchase items such as these, you should keep the computer power cable connected from the PC being worked on to the wall socket (-but switched off at the socket) and continually earth yourself by frequently touching the metal of the computer case

    In addition, handle all components by the edges (-as you would a CD) and avoid touching any components on the board itself to avoid damaging sensitive electronics with static electricity.

  • Keep any anti-static bags or boxes that your new components come in, as they are useful for placing any removed components on, whilst you are working on a PC:

    A typical anti static bag

Tools Required

If have some spare cash, the following are always useful, but are not strictly necessary if you are careful -and do not hit problems:

  • Some cases may require a standard electrical screwdriver (-e.g. one posidrive or a flat-blade) to remove screws, although there are many cases where no screws are required. If you are keen, you can buy special "PC tool kits" but this is probably overkill, unless you are going to be working on PCs for a living

    A typical PC toolkit

  • In the case of problems, a basic multimeter can be useful, but is not normally necessary: most upgrades are just a case of removing one component and swapping in the new one

    A basic electrical multimeter


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