Understanding Electrostatic Discharge – CompTIA Network+ N10-006 – 5.6

Electrostatic discharge can quickly damage your electronics. In this video, you’ll learn how to control ESD, using anti-static wrist straps, anti-static pads, and anti-static bags.
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The static electricity is electricity that doesn’t move. We have static electricity on a number of different devices that we use every day. And as long as there’s no discharge of that static electricity, then we don’t really have much of a problem. But if we do have any type of electrostatic discharge onto the components of our devices, we might damage them.

You can see an image here of a scanning electron microscope that shows some ESD damage at 4,300 times magnification. You’ll start to feel static electric discharges when it gets up to about 3,500 volts or so. But it only takes 100 volts or even less than that to damage some of these sensitive components in our computing devices.

It can be a bit of a challenge to control electrostatic discharge, especially in environments where we need air conditioning. To get rid of electrostatic discharge, we need a high amount of humidity. 60% humidity or more limits the amount of static electricity in the air. This is not going to prevent all of the static electricity, but it does a very good job at suppressing it.

Unfortunately, of course, an air conditioned room is going to have air that is conditioned or the humidity will be removed from that air. So usually don’t have a work area that has 60% humidity. Not only is it difficult to maintain that humidity amount, it’s also very uncomfortable to work in an environment with that much humidity in the air.

One very easy way to minimize the amount of electrostatic discharge is to touch the metal case of a device that you’re about to work inside of. This is going to equalize the static electricity across both of those devices. And then when you start working with the internal components, there won’t be any discharge of the static electricity. You might also want to consider wearing an antistatic wrist strap. This will connect to the metal case you’re working on, always providing a direct connection and minimizing the amount of static discharge.

You don’t ever want to touch components directly inside of our electronic devices. You want to touch maybe the edges or the sides of those devices and avoid touching any of those chips or other components directly. Here’s an antistatic wrist strap in use. You can see the blue strap around this person’s wrists. And he has connected it to the metal case of the computer that he happens to be working on.

If you’re working with a flat device or something that you’re taking apart, you may want to have an antistatic pad and have all of the devices lay on top of that pad. And in this case, the anti static strap is connecting to the pad so that everything is in equalization.

If you have to move a component from one place to another, you obviously can’t stay connected with an antistatic strap. So in those cases, you may want to put the components inside of the bag that’s specially designed to minimize the amount of static. These antistatic bags have this very smoky color. They are very easy and safe way to transport your devices from one place to the other and avoid any type of static discharge.