Magnetic screwdrivers - yay or nay for building computers?

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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So here's something I've always wondered...is it okay to use magnetic screwdrivers when building a computer?

I'd imagine the magnetic field would screw up the hard drive or something, but I've never had any problems. I haven't used one in awhile, however, because I'm not sure if it hurts anything. I don't use a heavy-duty magnetic screwdriver, just one of the basic ones with a magnetic tip. They're so useful because I'm always dropping screws in hard-to-reach places and some screws are wicked hard to hold in straight without the aid of a magnetic tip.

So...is there any scientific proof as to whether or not using a a magnetic screwdriver is bad for your computer? Have you ever had any problems? What do you think? Vote now or forever hold your peace!
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Originally posted by: PrincessGuard
The magnets inside the hard drive voice coils are orders of magnitude stronger than your screwdriver.

So no problem on the hard drive then? Anything else it might affect?
 

L00PY

Golden Member
Sep 14, 2001
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The magnetic tip isn't strong enough to affect a hard drive in the slightest bit -- your normal fridge magnet won't do much either. A screwdriver might be strong enough to mess with a floppy or zip disk, but no one uses those anymore, right? I think Dan's Data had an article or two on why normal magnets won't affect your hard drives.
 

CraigRT

Lifer
Jun 16, 2000
31,440
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I always use magnetic screwdrivers when assembling a PC.. infact if I can't find a magnetic screwdriver when assembling a PC I get really grumpy!!
(people around work like to borrow things a lot)

it's FINE.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Originally posted by: CraigRT
I always use magnetic screwdrivers when assembling a PC.. infact if I can't find a magnetic screwdriver when assembling a PC I get really grumpy!!
(people around work like to borrow things a lot)

it's FINE.

hahaha...I have that problem too...coughFAMILYcough ;)
 

JBT

Lifer
Nov 28, 2001
12,095
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Not just yeah its fine. I wouldn't work on a computer with out one!!! w00t
 

imported_alp

Senior member
Aug 24, 2004
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i built my computer with one, but lost it. doing stuff without it has been much more annoying with that.
 

CraigRT

Lifer
Jun 16, 2000
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0
Originally posted by: Kaido
Originally posted by: CraigRT
I always use magnetic screwdrivers when assembling a PC.. infact if I can't find a magnetic screwdriver when assembling a PC I get really grumpy!!
(people around work like to borrow things a lot)

it's FINE.

hahaha...I have that problem too...coughFAMILYcough ;)

family not so bad for me, but my screwdriver set went missing at work for a few days a while ago.. not cool!
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
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Originally posted by: PrincessGuard
The magnets inside the hard drive voice coils are orders of magnitude stronger than your screwdriver.

Of course, those magnets are magnetized on their faces, and their fields extend only a very short distance from the surface. But even so, magnetized screwdrivers usually aren't very strong, and the hard drive's case keeps them away from the platters.
 

thirdlegstump

Banned
Feb 12, 2001
8,713
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I have placed unshielded 15" speakers next to hard drives without problems. I don't think a little magnetic screwdigger would do anything.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
70,096
5,639
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Perfectly fine, try building a system without one and you'll soon not care if there is a risk or not.
 

Acanthus

Lifer
Aug 28, 2001
19,915
2
76
ostif.org
There is no serious risk to useing a magnetic over a regular... id consider scratching the mobo while removing a crappy arse heatsink clip to be more of a risk (im so glad intel ditched those on their stock coolers)
 

dave2048

Junior Member
Nov 21, 2003
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This is a little off topic, but I have a funny story about laptops and magnets.

At my old job (Best Buy) I was working on a computer near a cash register. The register counter had one of those security tag demagnetizers built into it. Well, when I was working on the laptop, the register would beep (signifying something was demagnetized), the HDD would make a loud click, and the LCD would flicker. It did this a few times before I could figure out what was going on. I moved the laptop away, fixed whatever problem the customer had, and the laptop was fine. So I'm pretty sure computers can take a decent jolt of EM before things start really acting screwy.
 

Zepper

Elite Member
May 1, 2001
18,998
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The anti mag screwdriver bias took hold in the days of floppy disks (you do remember the 8" ones, don't you ;) ) - and has hung on tight ever since. As long as you use your brain for something besides keeping your skull from collapsing, you'll be OK. Keep them away from floppy disks and though you probably couldn't really hurt a CRT monitor with one - no sense chancing it.
.bh.

:moon:
 

0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
64,862
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91
search dansdata.com for letters answering this. you'd need an electromagnet a millimeter away from the drive platter to do any damage.
 

TSDible

Golden Member
Nov 4, 1999
1,697
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Originally posted by: CraigRT
I always use magnetic screwdrivers when assembling a PC.. infact if I can't find a magnetic screwdriver when assembling a PC I get really grumpy!!
(people around work like to borrow things a lot)

it's FINE.


Just take a regular screwdriver and swipe it across a speaker magnet a couple of times. It will induce a magnetic field that is plenty strong enough for computer screws.

Lasts for months.

In addition, it is even weaker than a standard magnetized screwdriver so you have to worry about it even less.
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator CPU Forum Mod and Elite Member
Super Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
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Originally posted by: alp
i built my computer with one, but lost it. doing stuff without it has been much more annoying with that.
EDIT:TSDible, you beat me to it! :)