05 Apr

The Truth About 11 Myths of Electrostatic Discharge: Part 2

11 Myths of Electrostatic Discharge

Last week we shared with you Part 1 of The Truth About 11 Myths of Electrostatic Discharge; here’s Part 2…

Myth #6 – An ESD bag is all the protection I need.

There is a somewhat popular belief that you can use the ESD shielding bag that your circuit board or sensitive electronics was shipped in as adequate “matting” when you are working. This could not be more false.

Regardless of which ESD shielding bag you receive or purchase, it ONLY provides ESD protection while the item in entirely enclosed inside a sealed bag. Outside of the bag, it can actually increase the chances that you will generate an ESD event, because the bag is designed to “push” a charge away from the contents of the bag – right into your electronics.

Myth #7 – Grounded metal offers a safe haven from ESD.

In fact, conductive materials – like metals – are not safe surfaces for sensitive electronic components that could be subject to an electrostatic charge, even if they are grounded. In fact, the charge dissipation is so fast, the resistance to ground has almost zero impact.

The point of grounding is to get everything at the same potential energy level so that current from an ESD can’t flow where it shouldn’t.  Using metal, even grounded metal, voids this effort.

The next three myths are similar in nature…

Myth #8 – Circuit boards without complementary metal oxide semi-conductor (CMOS) are safe.

On its face, this seems obvious, as it is hard to find a circuit board without some CMOS components. However, ALL circuit boards are susceptible to electrostatic discharges and the damage they can cause.

Myth #9 – A printed wiring board (PWB) permanently protects a circuit board.

Just because a component is inserted into a PWB, that does not protect it from potential ESD damage. It does decrease the likelihood that fatal loss will occur, as the voltage the entire board can sustain is increased.

But this is by no means a guarantee of safety. All proper precautions must be taken when handling sensitive electronics.

Myth #10 – Once products are mounted on circuit boards, ESD mishaps cannot occur.

This is similar to the above myth.  But unlike PWB boards, unprinted boards can actually leave sensitive components even more vulnerable because there is less resistance to slow the electrostatic discharge down.

 Myth #11 – Small companies cannot afford proper ESD protection.

On the contrary, small companies cannot afford not to have suitable ESD protocols and tools. The risk of damage and the costs associated with it are just too excessive not to invest in the proper implementation of an ESD protected workstation – even a portable one, if need be.

We recommend at a minimum, personal grounding wrist straps, dissipative ESD matting and grounding cables.

We would love to be your full service, seamless ESD solution provider, no matter what your size or budget.  Contact us today for more information.

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