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Touching the PCB

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ive got this one friend who insists that touching the PCB on any electronic component can destroy it. As in, just touching any of the surface mount components will result in component death.

His story to why he thinks that is this: apparently when in collage, he had some expensive ICs that he touched all over. Apparently, every one of them died. Personally, I think there was some ESD and he didn't feel it, but he still says that touching anything on the PCB will destroy it.

I obviously do not think this is true, but just to make sure, I wanted to ask you guys. I have touched Video Cards, RAM, Motherboards, and even CPUs on the pins/PCB and they where all fine. In fact, I have never had an ESD incident before smile.gif

And also, there really isnt a section for this, so I put it in the one that seemed to fit best smile.gif
post #2 of 13
It's safe as long as you attempt to discharge yourself on something metal. Or you could wear a bracelet. I mean, I had to touch my motherboards in numerous places to put them in.
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Gary Busey
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post #3 of 13
He is right.
    
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post #4 of 13
There are two parts to this theory...

Touching the PCB itself and touching the components that reside on the PCB are different. Where the PCB is non conductive. A PCB board is "etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate"

The non conductive substrate is completely safe and is usually the green or blue bit of the PCB. However starting to touch some of the components on it, for example a capacitor or resistor could have fatal consequences, (to the board) as they do conduct electricity and with a very very small voltage) with short out.

In all, when handling components try to touch the non metal board rather than any components
post #5 of 13
As long as the PCB is disconnected from power and left for long enough for the capacitors to discharge, you shouldn't have a problem as long as you ground yourself first. In the case of computer parts, it you have a motherboard mounted inside your case, and your power supply is plugged in still, assuming the power switch is off and you have a properly grounded plug, just touching your metal case should discharge the static electricity built-up inside of you.
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post #6 of 13
The risks of handling PCB's and the stuff mounted to them are contaminating them with conductive materials and electrostatic discharge (static shock). Both can but that does not mean that both will damage PCB's and their components. When handling such things, just make sure to discharge any static electricity before handling them and make sure your hands aren't dirty. Two simple things and you are pretty safe to handle those type of things.
 
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post #7 of 13
I always tap a radiator before I touch any components and I have never killed anything over the past 4-5 years.
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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xtopiana View Post

There are two parts to this theory...
Touching the PCB itself and touching the components that reside on the PCB are different. Where the PCB is non conductive. A PCB board is "etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate"
The non conductive substrate is completely safe and is usually the green or blue bit of the PCB. However starting to touch some of the components on it, for example a capacitor or resistor could have fatal consequences, (to the board) as they do conduct electricity and with a very very small voltage) with short out.
In all, when handling components try to touch the non metal board rather than any components

How would touching a compacitor have fatal consequences?
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xtopiana View Post

There are two parts to this theory...
Touching the PCB itself and touching the components that reside on the PCB are different. Where the PCB is non conductive. A PCB board is "etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate"
The non conductive substrate is completely safe and is usually the green or blue bit of the PCB. However starting to touch some of the components on it, for example a capacitor or resistor could have fatal consequences, (to the board) as they do conduct electricity and with a very very small voltage) with short out.
In all, when handling components try to touch the non metal board rather than any components

How would touching a compacitor have fatal consequences?
post #10 of 13
I meant towards the capacitor. It would have to be a very large capacitor to kill you. If you were statically charged (to a good level) at one particualr point when you touched the capacitor, you could send a voltage through it, essentially charging up and discharging the capacitor. It would fry the capacitor if this voltage was not able to be taken by the capacitor (which it probably wouldn't) if one capacitor goes on the PCB, chances are its a case of getting a new one
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