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Tip #1 - Safety First

By Robert Blackstone

I hope you didn't think the last time you'd hear "safety first" was in your Drivers Education classes!

Working on any electronics,including computers, has its risks and requires certain precautions.

Having said that, what's the first part you should purchase when building your own computer?

  • Motherboard?
  • Processor?
  • Computer Case?
Nope, those are all wrong. And honestly, they aren't even close.

A computer tool kit should be the first thing you purchase. Normal household tools aren't suited to working on a computer because they're often dirty, rusty, and magnetic. Here are some things you must have in your computer tool kit:

1) Antistatic wrist band

This is a must-have for any computer builder. Your computer's components are very sensitive to static electricity. Make sure that you ALWAYS have your antistatic wrist band on when working on your computer.

You must attach it to a ground source, usually a large piece of metal works well. This removes any free electrons, which cause static charge, from your body to the ground.

Also, as an additional measure, before touching any hardware, touch your computers metal frame. This will also help put your body's charge at equilibrium with your PC's.

2) Needle-nose pliers and Tweezers

These tools are useful when handling small screws and bits of metal. Your computer's circuitry is very precise and you'll need some good tweezers and pliers to hold things into place.

3) Screwdrivers

This is an obvious requirement for computer tool kits. You should have at least one small Phillips and Flathead screwdriver in your kit.

4) Spare parts container

You'll be surprised how handy one of these will be. They can be used to store small pars, screws, spacers, etc.

5) Nut drivers

Although these aren't a requirement for your tool kit, most tool kits come with some nut drivers. I have yet to use mine, but someday I'll probably need them.

6) Small flash light

Most computer tool kits don't come with a small flashlight, but it is a good thing to have when you're working in a dark computer case. A keychain type flashlight works great for this purpose!

I can't stress this enough; having the correct tools is the easiest way to avoid damaging your components that could easily cost you hundreds of dollars. And please turn off and UNPLUG your computer before working on it, the last thing you need is a phobia of computers after you've been inadvertently shocked by one.

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