Electrostatic Sensitive Device Questions:

Posted: 12/12/2007 7:29:19 PM

Joined: 9/25/2007

After encountering several ESD warning labels on my newly arrived theremin parts, I need to know how to handle such devices. I've gotten a wrist strap from RadioShack with a built in 1 mega ohm resistor. What are the next steps for handling these ESDs? I've read that I should have a grounded, conductive work station. If I were to cover my work station with some type of metal and ground it, and attach my wrist strap to that, would that suffice as work station capable of accommodating ESDs? I've read about a conductive foot plate that's connected to the station surface with a certain resistance and conductive seat plates. However, what is the minimum work station that I'll need to be able to safely put together my theremin?

Posted: 12/12/2007 11:32:25 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

ESD = Electro-static discharge

The labels are a warning to take procautions to protect your components from static electricity.

Certainly reasonable precautions are a good idea, but there is no reason to get carried away. The wrist strap and another grounded "plate" sound like a good idea.

Other good ideas would be not to walk around too much when working on your equipment and to touch your grounded plate first when you return.
Avoid working on a carpeted surface or wearing synthetic fabrics (nylon, polyester). Make sure the pad on your stool or chair is not covered with it either. A humidity level around 40-50 percent will go a long way in reducing the static risk as well.
Posted: 12/13/2007 2:46:45 AM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

Over the years I have worked with many commercial PC boards, all of which have such warnings on them, have taken no precautions to speak of, and have never had any trouble. I think it translates to:

a) do not interrogate said object with a live tesla coil;
b) do not go scuffling around on the nylon carpet during periods of low humidity and then investigating whether you can see and hear the spark when your finger approaches the part.

A grounding wrist strap should be more than enough.
Posted: 12/13/2007 4:49:32 PM

Joined: 9/25/2007

Thanks for the advice. And yes, I actually built a quite large Van de Graaff generator that I'll be sure to keep away from my components ;)
Posted: 12/13/2007 11:58:58 PM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

Somewhere I recall seeing a video of a very large theremin-controlled Tesla coil--the discharges were of variable frequency in the audio range, so it acted like an audio amplifier!

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.