Electrical Engineering – Avoiding Component Damage Caused By Static Discharge

Static discharge can be a real problem. Excess charge can cause painful shocks and irritations to people, but can have more serious effects for computers and electronic components. A high level of static charge can be particularly dangerous for metal oxide semiconductor devices, and lead to overloaded systems and dead boards within computers, even at 400 volts. Sensitive information can be erased, and electronic components can be permanently damaged. In this context, it is important to follow some simple steps for protecting electronic components from static discharge:

1 – Anti Static Clothing and Cloths

Wearing anti static clothing like cotton can help to dissipate static shocks, while preventing the kind of friction that leads to them occurring. Polyester clothing is particularly prone to creating static discharge, and should be avoided. A useful solution is a wrist strap, which can absorb static electricity, rather than allowing it to be transferred into other locations.

2 – Static Dissipative Mats

The floors of an office or home should contain static dissipative mats, which act as a barrier between equipment and the floor. A mat can work to dissipate static charges, and will prevent charges from being passed from carpet friction to computers. In general, it is recommended that you try to avoid thick carpeting in an office that can generate lots of static electricity. Using plastic flooring around computers, as well as lifting cases off the ground with plastic supports, will help remove the chance of static discharge.

3 – Check Wiring and Cabling Connections

All wires and cables should contain a grounded switch, and should be regularly checked to ensure that they are not producing small static shocks. You can also reduce static discharges by adjusting 3 pronged plugs. The two flat blades of the plug can be removed, and the grounding portion can be retained.

4 – Ensure Humidity Levels are Maintained

Static discharges can occur as the result of low humidity. Ensure that the humidity level of a room is kept to between 30% and 50% to balance out the effects of discharges. Overly cold and overly hot rooms can cause problems for equipment.

5 – Ground Connections

One way to prevent static discharge from occurring is to use a soldering pencil when making changes to the interior of a computer. Make sure that the soldering pencil is grounded, especially if it draws on AC current. By grounding, it is possible to reduce static, while also removing the risk of receiving a live electrical shock.

6 – Static Dischargers

You can also invest in static dischargers, which are commonly used as part of aircraft and larger pieces of hardware. A discharger will absorb static buildup and provide a low resistance path that separates air currents and a device. A discharging device effectively works in portable forms as a way to redirect a charge. As well as wrist straps, dischargers can be fitted to keychains. Rubber finger stalls can also be used when dealing with complex internal parts, but do not always prevent a large amount of static discharge from affecting components.

Christina Appleworth reviews simple and effective methods for protection electronic componenets from static discharge. For all your electronic componenets visit Discount Electrical’s range of products including discount switchgear and consumer units.