HOW TO: Prevent ESD

ESD Wrist Strap
It is important to observe some basic steps to protect your computer hardware from potential damage caused by Electro Static Discharge or ESD.

ESD is created when the electrical field surrounding different objects varies and becomes balanced. The spark that is created when contact balances the fields can cause damage to electronic components. Protecting electronic components, like the hardware in your computer, is an easy task if components are properly handled and basic precautions are used.

There are a number of items available on the market to reduce the likelihood of ESD, among those items are: ESD wrist strap, shoe sole grounder, and conductive shoes. It is recommended you properly ground yourself before contacting any computer components.

Here are some basic steps you can take to reduce the chance of causing ESD.

1. Check the humidity. Relative humidity above 40% actually reduces the resistance of items that could generate a charge making it more difficult to generate an ESD. Note that very high humidity (80% or more) could cause other types of issues like corrosion.

2. Provide a common ground for your electronic components. Any charge that might build up would be discharged safely through that common ground. ESD grounding straps that connect to the computer chassis make great common grounds.

3. Wear protective devices like wrist straps, sole grounders, and/or conductive shoes. These items help to prevent electrostatic charge from building.

4. Keep your components in the anti-static bag until you are ready to install them. These bags are designed to prevent a charge from building.

5. Be sure to ground yourself to the computer case by contact ensuring your personal static charge has been discharged before you work on the inside of your computer.

These basic steps can help you avoid damage to your sensitive electronic components by preventing ESD.