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Electrostatic Discharge

Electrostatic Discharge

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Published by Bobby
This document discusses what electro static discharge is and why it is important to protect your computer system from it when you are working inside the case.
This document discusses what electro static discharge is and why it is important to protect your computer system from it when you are working inside the case.

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Published by: Bobby on Mar 10, 2008
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11/02/2012

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In this document we will discuss what Electro static discharge is and why it isimportantwhen working on a computer systems you should take precautions to prevent ESD.Implementing Safety Measures and ProceduresESD Precautions and ProceduresDanger Posed by ESD Always perform PC preventive maintenance activities with a lot of care. Otherwise,it can cause harm to you as well as the PC. Always be very careful with Electro-Static Discharge (ESD).ESD is most prevalent in dry, low humidity environments. It occurs when twoobjects of dissimilar charge come in contact with each other such as your body anda computer component. To equalize the electrostatic charge, the two objectsexchange electrons. The object with the higher charge, your body, passes voltageto the object of lower charge, the electronic component. Though, a static chargeless than 3000 volts does not harm your body but it can damage the component.However, ESD of 10 volts can damage computer components such as ComplimentaryMetallic Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) chips because these chips contain a thin metaloxide layer that is hypersensitive to ESD.Dirt and dryness contribute to ESD. Dirt holds the charge, and dryness in theatmosphere increases the ability of dirt to hold this charge. ESD Protection Devices ESD is a natural phenomenon so it cannot be eliminated. But, you can use variousESD protection devices such as antistatic wrist strap, antistatic bags, ESD staticmats, and antistatic sprays to prevent damage to PC components.Antistatic Wrist Strap: Or ESD strap is made of an insulated material with a wireattached to it. Attach one end of the ESD strap to an earth ground that is theground pin on an extension cord and wrap the other end around your wrist. Thestrap consists of a resistor that provides protection if the wire touches acharged object.Antistatic Bags: Are designed to collect static charges on the outside of thebags rather than on the electronic components. These bags keep the dust and straycharges away from the computer components when they are being shipped or storedESD Static Mats: Is also made of an insulated material and has two wires withalligator clips, one at the end of each wire. Spread the mat on a flat surfacenear the ground. Attach one clip to the ground and the other to the computer. Thisensures that the charge is transferred from the computer to the ground.Antistatic Sprays: Are used on carpets to reduce ESD. Thus, they prevent thedamage to the computer components.Apart from using these ESD protection devices, you can take the followingprecautions to prevent damage posed by ESD to computer components:Do not plug in or remove devices when the power is onStore PC cards, chips, and other PC components in appropriate anti-staticcontainers such as envelopes and bags.Have a reliable ground point so that you can connect your body to it with a wrist
 
strap.Keep the carpets dust-free.Wear shoes with rubber soles to get rid of static charge.Do not wear clothes made of synthetic material because it is a conductor ofcharge.Do not wear jewelry because metals are conductors of electricity.Maintain the relative humidity at around 50 percent.Situations that could Present a Danger or Hazard If you do not use ESD protection devices as per the guidelines, you can harmyourself by getting a shock. Consider the following situations:An ESD strap is specially designed to drain electric charges away and providesafety to you. For this purpose, it uses 1-megaohm resistor to drain the chargeaway. If, instead of using this safety device, you wrap a simple wire around yourwrist, you can get electrocuted.An ESD strap can provide safety against low voltage. If you wear an antistaticwrist strap when there is a possibility to encounter a high-voltage capacitor, thestrap could channel that voltage through your body. Such situation could beworking on the inside of a monitor or power supply.Antistatic bags are not designed to drain the charges away. Do not use them inplace of antistatic mats to transfer static charge from the computer to the groundPC Components posing potential hazard and safety procedures related to them are asfollows: If you do not use ESD protection devices as per the guidelines, you can harmyourself by getting a shock. Consider the following situations:Lasers and high-voltage equipment: Lasers are high-intensity light rays that cancause severe damage to human eyes, including blindness. Therefore, never lookdirectly into a laser beam of the laser printer. If the radiation of the laserbeam comes in direct contact with skin, it can cause severe burns or even death,depending on the intensity. So, avoid direct contact with laser beams. The laserbeams used in printers and CD-ROM drives are of significantly low intensity but aslaser printers generate excessive heat, be careful when handling the inside of theprinter. To avoid the damage to parts of a laser printer, such as the EPcartridge, do not touch them. Do not put any object into the feeding system whenthe printer is running.Lasers and high-voltage equipment: High-voltage equipment is extremely hazardous.Carelessness while working with them can lead to shock, severe burns, orelectrocution. The potential damage due to mishandling of the equipment is writtenon the warning or caution label that is stick to the equipment.As a safety measure, read the documentation provided by the manufacturer beforeyou start working with high-voltage equipment. Ensure that you are properlygrounded to get rid of static charge and to prevent the equipment from any damage.Power supply: The power outlet provides alternating current (AC) and the PowerSupply Unit (PSU) converts it into direct current (DC) to be used by yourcomputer. During conversion, a significant amount of heat is generated, which cancause burns if you come in direct contact with it. If you try to open the PSU,which contains capacitors that store electric charge, there is a risk of shock orelectrocution.

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