ESD

ESD is one of those topics in the IT Industry that you will find widely varying responses between individuals. Some IT Professionals will simply shrug off the topic as witchcraft while others IT Professionals will go into details of how you cannot actually prevent ESD. My personal believe is that the individuals who dispel the ESD myth have not touched hardware nor do they have a background in electronics (which the lack of electronics background is becoming more prevalent in the IT Industry which I personally believe is unwise).

What is ESD and how is it created? In a nutshell ESD is a static charge which is created whenever there is movement between objects. Most individuals have a static charge that typically can reach levels of 5,000 volts; the human body can contain these high static charges through movement or by coming in contact with objects that contain high static voltages (some plastics have static voltages which can exceed 10,000 volts).

How do ESD charges damage electronic devices? Here is the issue; most electronic devices utilize some type of IC (Integrated Circuit) which can be damages by voltage levels as low as 8 volts! Inside the IC you will find a collection of very small transistors that are built into the electronic part using something referred to a P and N material (the gus of electronic parts). When electronic parts of exposed to ESD charges the junction between the P and N materials look as if a explosive device was detonated within the electronic part. Depending on the damage the electronic part could be totally defective or may fail within the near future.

How can ESD be prevented? Well we can never totally remove the ESD factor but there are things we can do to reduce the chance of ESD damaging your newly purchased motherboard:   

  • purchase a ESD Wrist Strap/Mat (kits can be purchased for less than $35)
  • purchase Anti-Static Bags which can be use to store cards, memory and storage devices
  • store motherboards in the Anti-Static bags within the motherboard box
  • work on a grounded bench (ensure that your bench is truly grounded)
  • maintain a RH (Relative Humidity) level of 60% or better using a room humidifier


Many of the items listed above can be purchased for less than $30 per item if you do some shopping (find someone to share the cost of 100 Anti-Static bags with).

8 comments:

  1. I am a Comptia A+ certified PC tech. Back in 1994 when I started repairing computers I used a wrist strap. Haven't used one since about 1996 I have built hundreds maybe thousands of computers. Once I was installing a Cyrx MMX 2 CPU and POP! ESD discharge from one of the pins to the desk the arc was visible and about 4 inches long. My heart sank, Thought for sure it was toast. I stuck it in a machine and it worked, It worked fine throughout it's lifetime. That is the closest to ESD damage I have ever heard of, when building or repairing computers. Obviously ESD is a big concern when manufacturing components but I have never experienced or even heard of an instance of damage to any computer component. So, I would say it is overblown. I would challenge all the proponents of ESD safety to give one actual instance of damage.

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  2. These ESD products are very useful in Industrial purpose. We are also provides Esd Heel Grounder | Esd Heel Grounder Suppliers

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  3. Take a look at all of the DOA's that are claimed by users at Newegg :)

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  4. 42 years working in electronics and computers and never once had an issue with ESD and I dont even own a wrist ground strap.

    My experience tells me ESD is over hyped. The actual risk is minimal.

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  5. I just put my first computer together while sitting on the carpet and on top of my bed. It fired up first time around, no issues yet except that the CPU is running a little warmer than I want it to. I used a stock intel heat sink though, and the pc sits near a heater vent.

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  6. Also there was 90% relative humidity, I live about 30 miles away from the coastline.

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