j0089184.wmf (7164 bytes)Hooking Up a Computer

Computers are getting relatively easy to hook up.   The computer owner used to have to keep a technical manual at his or her side to make sure which wire connects to which port.  Each of the peripheral devices has a cable that needs to be connected to the back of the computer.  Most of these cables have a special connector type that is designed to fit one and only one type of port.   You may hear or read about "serial" ports, "parallel" ports,   25-pin connectors, 9-pin connectors and the like.  Each of these descriptors refers to a special wiring configuration.  Each of the connectors normally fits one and only one port on the back of the computer. 

Both the CPU housing and the monitor will have conventional household  power cords.  These are the 3-prong variety and it is strongly recommended that you plug the computer and monitor into a grounded outlet instead of using the 2-prong converter (or just cutting the grounding prong off).  It is also recommended that you purchase a high quality, grounded, multi-outlet power strip that offers a good measure of surge protection.  During an electrical storm, the best thing you can do for your computer is to unplug it from the power source.  Most insurance claims on electrically damaged computer equipment results from lightning damage that originated from the telephone line connected to the modem.  It is a wise computer owner who not only "unplugs" his computer, but disconnects the phone line, as well.

Most new computers come with simple, easy to follow instructions for connecting the cables.  If you ever plan to detach the cables and move the computer to a new location, it would be wise to get out a few bottles of colored nail polish and paint some identifying marks on the cables and above the ports so that you can easily tell which wire belongs in which socket.  Many manufacturers are beginning to color-code their connectors to make setting up the computer easier.