Computer Troubleshooting Safety Precautions

There is no such thing as effective troubleshooting if safety has not been met. The effectiveness of the troubleshooting comes only if there are no injuries, tool and equipment failure due to mishandling, peripheral malfunction due to misdiagnoses and mishandling and other things that marks the big 7-letter word - FAILURE . So what should you do to be able to do "Effective Troubleshooting" ? Follow the three most important things below to find out how and what to learn!

#1 What you wear might save you!

Yes you did not read it wrong. What you wear really matters specially if we are dealing with safety. In big companies, overall uniforms, laboratory gowns and technicians' gown are required to be worn in their work areas. As freelance technicians, we don't strictly follow company protocols but at least we must ensure safety through using proper clothing.

What is appropriate for every computer technician to wear are clothings that won't catch fire fast like cotton. Nylon clothes should be avoided. One must also wear clothes with shorter sleeves to keep the connectors and other things in the system unit from clinging to your clothing. Buttoned shirts and clothing with dangling laces or similar should not be worn during computer troubleshooting.

Please don't use very loose clothes like the hip hop crews wear, rings, necklaces, dangling earrings, bracelets, and similar objects as well.

#2 Electro-Static Discharge is not your bestfriend

ESD is a form of electricity that can wreck havoc to your computer peripherals or its components. How do you get ESD's? Just everywhere, upon walking when you rub your shoe against a carpet, or combing your hair or just anything you rub against or touch. To be able to avoid damaging your computer system unit, you must discharge the ESD by using the ESD Wrist Strap while working with your computer.

But what if you don't have any ESD Wrist Strap? Don't worry before opening up your unplugged computer system, touch any unpainted portions of the system unit for a few seconds. This can significantly dissipate the ESD that you have in your body. Also consider using Anti-Static Mat while working your your computer to ensure safety against Static Electricity. But again, grounding yourself to the computer's chassis is enough to drain off the ESD's.

Since ESD's can damage computer peripherals and components, it is best to store your removed components and peripherals in Anti-Static Bags.

#3 Working Safely with Electricity

Whether your home outlet is 110 or 220 volts Alternating Current (AC), it can potentially kill you. But before working safely with the insides of your computer, let us be familiar first with the outsides of the computer.

In powerlines, the electricity that flows through the lines are not perfectly stable. The voltage may rise and fall and this action of the unstable voltage is called a voltage spike. Though most devices can operate even with voltage spikes, your computer cannot endure this spikes. What your computer eats is a stable supply of electrical current. The Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) does this job. It regulates or flattens out the AC flow of electricity to be fed to your computer. After the AVR, your computer receives the regulated 110 or 220 V AC electricity into your Power Supply Unit (PSU) and converts it into Direct Current (DC) like 12, 5, and 3.3 V respectively.

Whew! that was quite technical - we're technicians remember ey? Hehehe! So we have in mind that the electricity we get from the outlet is 110 or 220 V unregulated and as it passes though the AVR it is still 110 or 220 V but the spikes are now removed - and still dangerous. As the electricity from the AVR is received by the PSU, it is converted to DC and is now less dangerous. In other words if you are working with your computer, turn off your system unit and unplug the power cord from the AVR. If you might say that the DC current of the motherboard is small and can not cause you harm, consider that the components of your computer are sensitive to electrical shortages.