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Static electricity question

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Is there a possibility that static electricity will destroy the hardware?
 

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You need to be more specific for a proper answer.
 
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Even if it does not outright destroy your devices, ESD can cause defects that's hard to detect and quantify.

It *may* cause anything from accelerated aging, slow failure, increased leakage, increased susceptibility to voltage or thermal loading, bit-flip, etc. Note that I said *may*. It's quite hard to figure out if those defects, if later manifested, was indeed caused by ESD, latent defect, normal manufacturing variability, normal wear, or you're just being unlucky enough that your device got blasted by cosmic ray or something else.

Of course there's also a chance that your device got ESD but survive completely undamaged. Certain I/O pins for example have built in ESD protection.
 
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When does it show its effect? does it break right away?
That's usually how it goes.
It's always seems to either break stuff or not really do anything but electricity can do some weird stuff at times.

Always safeguard against ESD if possible.
 
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When building machines, I always touch the metal part of the case as much as I can to avoid ESD, but I keep forgetting to wear the ESD wristband.
Does anyone still use one of those? Touch wood, I haven't had any mishaps to date.
 
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Is there a possibility that static electricity will destroy the hardware?

Easily, but there are ways to protect like putting diodes across the inputs


I recall a story in Horowitz and Hill where they stop using a certain chip as it was so easily damaged just by handling.
 

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When building machines, I always touch the metal part of the case as much as I can to avoid ESD, but I keep forgetting to wear the ESD wristband.
Does anyone still use one of those? Touch wood, I haven't had any mishaps to date.
Heck my floor is carpet and I still haven't shocked anything though I don't have cats which are known to provide you such energy
 
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I lost a hard drive to ESD.
 
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When does it show its effect? does it break right away?

GN described 3 types in their video: upset, latent and catastrophic. Upset is a temporary fault that causes a malfunction and can be recovered. Catastrophic is when something fails immediately, but latent is when there's damage that can cause long-term intermittent malfunctions and/or reduced lifespan of the device, but is hard (if possible at all) to notice the damage. According to the video, manufacturers prefer catastrophic and I would too.
 

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Is there a possibility that static electricity will destroy the hardware?
YES

It is known as Electro Static Discharge, which can burn up voltage sensitive components, creating internal opens in logic gates. I've killed a few usb flash drives and a set of ram this way. To reduce the chance of occuring, do not have case on carpet, wearing sweater, fleece, blanket, dragging feet, excessively warm/dry area, using a vaccum, on a surface that can build up static, plastic bags/wrap.

Ground yourself on chassis with psu plugged in or touch the ground on a power outlet (if it actually has 1)

GN described 3 types in their video: upset, latent and catastrophic. Upset is a temporary fault that causes a malfunction and can be recovered. Catastrophic is when something fails immediately, but latent is when there's damage that can cause long-term intermittent malfunctions and/or reduced lifespan of the device, but is hard (if possible at all) to notice the damage. According to the video, manufacturers prefer catastrophic and I would too.
Mine have always been catastrophic, not really anything less than that.

When building machines, I always touch the metal part of the case as much as I can to avoid ESD, but I keep forgetting to wear the ESD wristband.
Does anyone still use one of those? Touch wood, I haven't had any mishaps to date.
I never have
 
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Is there a possibility that static electricity will destroy the hardware?
Always.

And here's the big problem with high-density digital devices (like processors, RAM modules and other ESD sensitive devices). There can easily be billions, even 100s of billions of transistor "gates" on a single "chip". This means that each gate is barely larger than the size of a single atom! :eek: That's tiny!

Now the distance a static discharge (arc, spark, microscopic lightning bolt) can jump across a gap, and its destructive power depends entirely on the potential or amount of voltage/static buildup. The higher the voltage, the bigger the spark and the more destructive it can be.

Now here's the bigger problem. The static discharge from our fingertips, can be so huge, it can torch a Grand Canyon size (microscopically speaking), scorched trench through millions of transistor gates, yet still be so tiny, we (as human beings) cannot see, hear or feel that a static discharge has even occurred! :(

Because destructive electro-static discharges can be so tiny and below "the threshold of human awareness", if anyone says they have never experienced, or destroyed anything with ESD, that simply indicates they don't have an understanding of ESD. The ONLY way to tell if ESD destroyed a device is by direct examination of those gates under a very powerful microscope.

When building machines, I always touch the metal part of the case as much as I can to avoid ESD, but I keep forgetting to wear the ESD wristband.
Does anyone still use one of those?
It is wise to be in the habit of touching bare metal of the case interior BEFORE reaching in and frequently thereafter to discharge static in our bodies and to prevent subsequent build up of static. It is important to note just squirming in our clothes can create static. If in that habit, a wristband is not necessary.

When I used to work in a professionally equipped repair facility, we always wore "quality" wristbands. But I note our benches, floormats, bench mats and the equipment we were working on were always grounded together and to Earth ground too. And those grounding points, and Earth ground itself, were properly and regularly tested and certified - never just assumed.

But most of us don't have such proper repair facilities in our homes. I am in the habit of touching metal, but I never wear a band anymore. IMO - except in professional repair facilities - those bands give a false sense of security and safety. And many are pure junk. Even quality wristbands easily lose their effectiveness as they age and/or get dirty. Sweat, dirt, grime and dead skin is all it takes.

BTW, it is not necessary for the PSU to be plugged into the wall to prevent ESD. All that is needed is for you and the computer to be "at the same ground potential". So even if unplugged from the wall, just touching the bare metal of the case interior will discharge the static in your body and put you and the computer "at the same potential".

This is creating a "floating ground". And that's just fine. Think door knobs, dog's noses, cars, and airplanes. None of them are plugged into the wall.
 
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if you're not wearing polyester clothes, not building on a carpet (i know Americans love carpets) and ground yourself first, it's really hard to do real damage, i never used wristbands and shit and haven't killed anything, but there's always a chance.
 

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Always.

And here's the big problem with high-density digital devices (like processors, RAM modules and other ESD sensitive devices). There can easily be billions, even 100s of billions of transistor "gates" on a single "chip". This means that each gate is barely larger than the size of a single atom! :eek: That's tiny!

Now the distance a static discharge (arc, spark, microscopic lightning bolt) can jump across a gap, and its destructive power depends entirely on the potential or amount of voltage/static buildup. The higher the voltage, the bigger the spark and the more destructive it can be.

Now here's the bigger problem. The static discharge from our fingertips, can be so huge, it can torch a Grand Canyon size (microscopically speaking), scorched trench through millions of transistor gates, yet still be so tiny, we (as human beings) cannot see, hear or feel that a static discharge has even occurred! :(

Because destructive electro-static discharges can be so tiny and below "the threshold of human awareness", if anyone says they have never experienced, or destroyed anything with ESD, that simply indicates they don't have an understanding of ESD. The ONLY way to tell if ESD destroyed a device is by direct examination of those gates under a very powerful microscope.


It is wise to be in the habit of touching bare metal of the case interior BEFORE reaching in and frequently thereafter to discharge static in our bodies and to prevent subsequent build up of static. It is important to note just squirming in our clothes can create static. If in that habit, a wristband is not necessary.

When I used to work in a professionally equipped repair facility, we always wore "quality" wristbands. But I note our benches, floormats, bench mats and the equipment we were working on were always grounded together and to Earth ground too. And those grounding points, and Earth ground itself, were properly and regularly tested and certified - never just assumed.

But most of us don't have such proper repair facilities in our homes. I am in the habit of touching metal, but I never wear a band anymore. IMO - except in professional repair facilities - those bands give a false sense of security and safety. And many are pure junk. Even quality wristbands easily lose their effectiveness as they age and/or get dirty. Sweat, dirt, grime and dead skin is all it takes.

BTW, it is not necessary for the PSU to be plugged into the wall to prevent ESD. All that is needed is for you and the computer to be "at the same ground potential". So even if unplugged from the wall, just touching the bare metal of the case interior will discharge the static in your body and put you and the computer "at the same potential".

This is creating a "floating ground". And that's just fine. Think door knobs, dog's noses, cars, and airplanes. None of them are plugged into the wall.
Or a rod sunk into the ground
 
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Hmm i presume it has static wicks?
No, just plain BS. Complete with resistor to nowhere.

Statics with enough energy to be dischargeable through static wicks would have high enough energy to be actually deadly to human, or at least very painful.
 
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Or a rod sunk into the ground
LOL - or several rods surrounding the building, all tied together with a monster copper cable!
it's really hard to do real damage,
Not sure what you mean by "real" damage.

And again, if you did destroy something through ESD, you would not know it. Most users just assume the device was DOA, or damaged by some other means.

In fact, back in the day when I was a young tech in the military and we were migrating away from discrete devices (vacuum tubes - yeah, I'm that old) to ICs, ESD destruction was a total mystery. It was only after Motorola, Texas Instruments and some of the other IC makers started to examine returned devices (incorrectly, as we later learned, returned as "DOA") under a microscope that an understanding of ESD, and ESD prevention came about "out in the field". I actually was fortunate to go to a class given by ITT to learn about ESD and how to prevent it. Then I had to teach the other techs on the topic.

Regardless, the question was, it is possible? And the answer is, "always".

Now for sure, IC and motherboard makers have made significant advance when it comes to preventing ESD damage. If the CPU, expansion card or RAM module is properly mounted/inserted in its socket, it is greatly protected from ESD damage. HOWEVER, a ESD can still occur - especially through mishandling the device. Therefore damage is still possible and so we should always take the necessary precautions.

(i know Americans love carpets)
:rolleyes: We also love hardwood floors, tile floors, rugs, and pretty much any type of flooring - other than dirt, or wet. Surprisingly, just like the rest of the world.

Most amusing, a cordless anti-static strap
Yeah, I've seen those before (perhaps you posted it?). Any way, you are right. It is amusing. Clearly, at least to me, a gimmick. I note it claims to have an attenuation time of .1 second. Yeah right. A lot of damage can be done in that amount of time.
Hmm i presume it has static wicks?
Yeah - made out of "anti-static conductive yarn". :rolleyes: Granted there are some devices that can absorb excess voltages quickly - converting it into heat. But to be most effective that excess voltage needs to be dumped to a ground somewhere. And I don't consider my wrist a ground, unless I am hanging on to a grounding point too.
 

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Heck my floor is carpet and I still haven't shocked anything though I don't have cats which are known to provide you such energy
Our cat, Floyd, doesn't possess enough energy to give me anything apart from regular laughs :)
He's too damn lazy.
 
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Not sure what you mean by "real" damage.
i think it reads wrong but that's my poor English, you cand definetly kill it. I mean to say it's hard to kill it, hard to damaged, like the linus video says.
 
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