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Managing Electrostatic Discharge – CompTIA A+ 220-801: 5.1

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When we’re using electricity,
we’re so used to plugging into a power source and having
that electricity move through a device. It completes a circuit. It’s able to power
our equipment. And it’s constantly in motion. But static electricity doesn’t
work that way. Static electricity doesn’t
move at all. The problem that you have
with static electricity is not that it exists. The problem is when it decides
to actually move and discharge itself. That’s when you start to have
problems with equipment. When you look at computer
components especially, those are extremely sensitive to
electrostatic discharges. You can see an example of
this from NASA’s JPL. They have an electron microscope
that they use to look at what the damage
actually is. You obviously wouldn’t
be able to see this with the human eye. But you can clearly see that
there are problems when you have a static electricity
discharge. If you start doing the
measurements of this, you can feel a static discharge when
you rub your feet across a carpeted floor and
touch a doorknob. You’ll feel it at about
3,500 volts. When you start to damage a
component however, you don’t need anywhere near that
type of voltage. You can have as little as 100
volts or less, and you’ve already created a problem. You’ve already damaged
that very sensitive electronic equipment. There are many different
ways to control electrostatic discharge. One way is to keep the humidity
in a room or an area somewhere around 60% humidity
and higher. The problem you have of course
is when you’re working with electronic equipment or even
when we are working in an office environment, it’s
air conditioned. And that air conditioning itself
is pulling humidity out of the air. So that’s not always the best
possible scenario, and our electronic equipment
doesn’t like to sit in very humid areas. And it’s uncomfortable
for us to work in. So perhaps that’s not the
best way to prevent ESD. But obviously in very humid
areas, there’s not as much ESD of an issue as it would be in
areas where there wasn’t as much humidity. When you’re working with your
computing equipment, there’s a very easy things you can do to
help minimize the instances of electrostatic discharge. One is when you’re working
with your computer to of course always disconnect
it from a power source. You don’t want to have any part
of you directly connected to anything that might be with a
wall outlet or power source. Before you touch any of the
components inside of your computer, simply touch a part
of the exposed metal case surrounding it. This will create a equilibrium
of electrical potential between yourself and what
you’re working on. And if there is any type of ESD
it will be on the metal case, which of course isn’t
going to be affected by any type of electrostatic
discharge. A good best practice is to never
touch directly those components that are on your
adapter cards or your memory chips or anything else that’s
inside of your computer. If there was an electrostatic
discharge, it would obviously go directly from you into
that component. Instead, simply hold the
edges of the device you’re working on. That way if there is an
electrostatic discharge it’s going to go into the edge of the
component, and hopefully not affect the actual components
themselves. Another best practice to
minimize ESD is to use an electrostatic pad or to stand
on an electrostatic mat. These devices are commonly
connected to the electrical ground that’s on the
power supply coming right out of the wall. But it’s important to remember
that these devices have resistors inside of them that
will prevent any type of voltage from ever
getting to you. It’s important to keep in mind
that you should never directly connect to any type of
electrical wall outlet. Always use something like this
devices that are specifically designed to connect only
to the ground. And they’re designed to protect
you from any type of voltage discharge. If you’re removing components
from inside of a computer and you’re taking them somewhere
else, you’re obviously not going to be on an electrostatic
mat or electrostatic pad or even be
protected from any type of ESD as you travel from point A to
point B. So you want to use something like this. This is an anti static bag, and
this bag will help protect these components from any type
of ESD as you’re moving them from place to place.

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