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Motherboard washers

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by TBW, Jan 22, 2007.

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  1. TBW

    TBW Thread Starter

    Oct 31, 2006
    Quick question- Do those little spacer washers for the motherboard go under the screw on the top side of the motherboard or under the mobo between the mobo and the stand-off's ?

    Been so long since I built a 'puter I can't remember. And what do is their purpose as long as I'm asking ?

  2. Nadroj


    Jan 22, 2007
    below the mobo and so it does short out on the case
  3. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

    Sep 10, 2006
    If we are talking about the little red fiber washers (they look like red cardboard), they are used on top of the MOBO under the screwhead. Their purpose is to provide some cushion so if you overtighten the screws you don't crack the MOBO or scrape off the tin plating (I have never used them though in any of the 30-40 PCs I have built).
  4. johnpost


    Dec 17, 2005
    it depends on the design of your motherboard and the standoffs.

    towards the rear of the motherboard there will be one or more
    hole surrounded by metal, those are supposed to have a metal
    standoff, a metal screw and no insulating washer because they
    ground the motherboard to the case.

    in more recent times the other standoffs are frequently
    nylon and have plastic clips.

    if you have nylon standoffs that take a metal screw on
    top then the washer goes under the screw to prevent
    shorting traces under the head.

    metal standoffs used to be frequent but unless insulating
    washers were used top and bottom they shorted your
    board. look at your motherboard top and bottom,
    if there are linear circuit board traces that would
    be touched by a metal standoff or a metal screw
    head then you would use them for insulation.
    exception is the previously mentioned grounding
    point(s) which are usually at the rear and you want both
    metal standoff and metal screw to have good contact
    with. good modern motherboards may have a metal
    donut around other mounting holes, these are
    nongrounding and designed to prevent a metal
    standoff and metal screw from shorting traces,
    they are isolated and don't need insulating washers
    but it makes no difference on those.

    look in your case parts or motherboard parts, if you have
    only one or two metal standoffs they are only for the
    rear grounding positions.

    if you are using an old case or parts then getting nylon
    standoffs for all but the grounding ones might be better.
  5. TBW

    TBW Thread Starter

    Oct 31, 2006
    The cushion sounds reasonable. I thought perhaps it was the "short" thing too, and it seems to me I read something to that effect but it didn't make all that much sense. The stand-off is brass, and your using a metal screw, so how the heck could it prevent a short...

    Oh well, question answered. Maybe I'll use them on both sides :D

    I do remember using them SOMEWHERE when I built my Asus P4P800.

    Thanks folks !
  6. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

    Sep 10, 2006
    Most important is to make sure there are standoffs only where there are screw holes in the mobo.
  7. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

    Oct 19, 2002
    On cheap cases, the dimples that you connect the MB to will sometimes short traces close to the holes. In that case, I put them under the MB. I've never felt the need to put them above the MB, since I've worked on tons of equipment that had PCB's secured with screws, and there was never a need to provide a "cushion" for the PCB. :)

    Note that more modern MB's now seem to have gotten the right idea and leave a much larger pad for the mounting, so it's unlikely that you'll need these with new builds. It's been a long time since I've done anything but dump them in my washer box. ;)
  8. brite750


    Mar 16, 2002
    I dont use them, never have, dont over thighten the mb screws, snug but not too snug, this isnt an engine block
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