Steps for a Safe and Successful System Unit Assembly and Disassembly

You might think that disassembly and assembly of the system unit is easy. Yes it is provided that you have done it correct and safely. The first thing that every computer technician should keep in mind is SAFETY. You must think that electrocution and nasty cuts are the most common injuries a computer technician might have and we need to avoid it by following simple safety procedures. To disassemble and assemble a computer is integral as being a Computer Hardware Servicing Technician.

Aside from electrocution, we must also think that the computer that we are about to disassemble requires care. Safety of the equipment must also be considered. Not only thinking of the computer's safety but also to that of your tools. Your tools are your best friends and you need to take good care of them so they in return can make your job easy and fast. Example, if you just leave your software installer anywhere then accidentally falls to the ground and accumulates scratches? Do you think you can still use the installer again?

Another thing to consider safety is on environment. As computer technicians, we must be responsible to take our part to take care of the environment. What things does computer technicians do that might have ill effects on the environment? Printer inks, cut wires, PCB's, in general electronic wastes. And these electronic wastes are the hardest type of waste to recycle. So be responsible as a computer servicing technician. So listed below is the checklist for a safe and successful disassembly and assembly of the computer.

Steps to a Safe and Successful Disassembly and Assembly of a System Unit

To Disassemble

1. Prepare all your tools.
a. Long Philip Screw Driver
b. Rubber Eraser
c. Soft Wide Bristle Brush
d. Paper and Pen for documentation

2. Before opening the system case, be sure to turn off the system unit. Turn off and unplug the AVR from the wall socket as well. After that, unplug all the cables connecting to the back of the system unit. After clearing all the connected cables, put the system unit on an empty working table.

3. Touch the unpainted part of your system unit with your bare hands to remove the ESD of your body. This is an important part before opening your system case. You might destroy your RAM, Chipsets and other components of your motherboard.

4. Remove the screws of the side cover opposite to the side where the ports are. By most system cases, if you are facing the back of the system unit the right side cover is to be removed. Return the screws back to the screw holes to avoid losing them.

5. Once the side cover is removed, turn your system side down where the opened side of the system unit should be facing upward where you can comfortably look down on the inside of your system case.

6. We are now ready to remove the components inside of the computer. The first thing we need to do is remove the power supply. To be able to remove the power supply, remove first the molex connectors (the white plastic connector at the tip of the wires of the power supply) or the motherboard power connector, drive power connectors, the floppy drive power connector, the sata power connectors and the four pin 12-volt motherboard connector. With all power connectosr are removed from the motherboard and drives, the power supply is now ok to be removed as well. Always have the removed components placed in a remote and safe place away from where you are performing computer disassembly.

7. With the power supply removed, the data cable should be removed next. This includes IDE, SATA, and floppy drive cables. Secure the removed data cables.

8. Next to remove are the RAM, Video Card and other card peripheral components. Again have them secured in a safe place and put the screws back. Clean the connector edges of the card peripherals by rubbing the gold colored edge moderately with a rubber eraser then brushing off the shredding. Do not attempt to clean the edge by blowing or brushing it off with your fingers. Our body is acidic and you might only cause the edges to tarnish faster.

9. Remove all drives. This will include your hard drive, cd/dvd drives, and the floppy drive.

10. Since all peripherals where removed, the next thing to do is to remove the front panel connectors. This will include the USB, Front Panel (FP) and Audio header. If you are not sure of which connector is being match to, write down or document the connections and orientation of the connectors before removing them from the headers. Remember that not all motherboards have the same header configuration so be careful and watchful while documenting.

11. After removing the header connectors, we are now ready to remove the motherboard. To remove the motherboard, locate first all the screws and lightly unscrew all screws alternately. With this technique, we are reducing the risk of warping or bending our motherboard. It may not have a large impact on the bending of the motherboard but still it does have even a little. Upon lightly loosening all screws, remove all screws then. Remove the motherboard by carefully and lightly pulling it away from the I/O shield. Why? because we need to free the ports that are fitted from the holes in the I/O shield. After freeing the motherboard ports from the I/O shield holes, lift up the motherboard and put it on the safe place.

12. Clean the system unit chassis with your brush, also clean your motherboard and the rest of the peripherals being removed.

To Assemble

1. Provided that all peripherals are clean and ready. We are now going to assemble your computer. In assembling back your computer, what we have done during disassembling is just doing the reverse order to assemble it. Since the motherboard was last to be removed, it should then be the first to put back. Remove the retaining screws from the standoff screws of the motherboard and let the motherboard seat on it with the ports facing out towards the I/O shield. Lightly push the motherboard to set its ports to the holes of the I/O shield. Put the retaining screws on the motherboard screw holes but do not tighten it yet. Now be careful in doing this one and if this is your first time doing it, it is best if you lend a hand for assistance. Lightly push the motherboard towards to I/O shield and lightly tighten the motherboard retaining screws alternately until all screws are tight enough but not too tight. This is to ensure that your ports are protruding correctly out of the I/O shield.

2. Once the motherboard is secured, put back the FP, Audio, and USB header connectors as you will be using your documentation for reference.

3. Put back the drives to the correct drive bays.

4. Connect back the RAM, Video Card and other card peripherals to its proper slot inserting it properly and some cards will require screws to be secured.

5. The data cables (IDE, SATA, floppy cable) should be connected to its proper headers and drives. Remember the proper configuration of the placement of the cables specially if you are dealing with the IDE cables.

6. After the data cables are properly connected, put back the power supply and secure it with the screws you removed earlier. After securing the PSU to the chassis, connect the power connectors to the drives and the motherboard.

7. Once all peripherals are connected properly, have a final inspection by visually checking for loose connection or improper connection. Once the system unit connections are thoroughly checked and verified, connect the keyboard; the monitor, and the power connector then power up the computer. This initial powering up of the computer while the side cover is open ensures us that everything is ok before putting back the side cover. In case something goes wrong, we can accessibly correct the problem right away. If everything is fine shutdown the computer, unplugged the AVR and remove the cables connected to the back of your computer. Put the side cover back.

8. Put the assembled computer back to its place and connect the rest of the cables and connectors. Power it up and see if there are unusual effects of your disassembling/assembling procedure done earlier.

Remember SAFETY. Do not neglect it. Neglect can cause catastrophic effects. I will be posting some videos soon if I can buy a video cam early before December. :-) Enjoy disassembling and assembling your computer safely and successfully.