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Possible revolutionary idea: Ultimate ESD protection by working on computer outdoors?

computerdude92

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2014
Messages
957
Location
Alaska
People are using these earthing mats when they are indoors for health, and our houses get electrically grounded by copper rods inserted into the earth, so what if I were to finally fix the never-ending question of preventing harmful static discharge to computers by simply doing these steps:

1. Go outdoors with my computer

2. Lay the computer tower flat in the dirt

3. I make myself barefoot in order to be in contact with the soil

4. Opening up the computer tower and installing components like the motherboard, cpu, and ram

I have several groups of questions:

1. Do I need to use a piece of copper wire to insert into the earth soil and then attach it to the metal PC chassis in order to ground myself properly, or is simply being barefoot enough? Do I also need to wrap the copper coil around my skin for the grounding to work?

2. Why hasn't anybody ever thought of this idea before, or am I just a genius? Do you think my idea will work? Let say my idea works, will I no longer need to use all those expensive ESD safe gear not limited to ground mats, wrist straps, metal work benches or trying to ground by plugging the PC power supply to a wall socket?

Please let me know what you think and hopefully I can solve this ESD problem once and for all and not need to waste money on pricey equipment. :)
 
Last edited:

TravisHuckins

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2017
Messages
322
Location
USA
wut this is taking it to far. Most modern PC components will be fine without any sort of protection.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Apr 30, 2015
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Austin, Texas
Can't tell if OP is serious or not.

ESD equipment is snake oil, right up there with blinker fluid.

As long as you aren't trying to shove a van de graff generator or tesla coil inside the computer then nothing is going to happen.

I've worked on all sorts of electronic gear on "static unsafe" surfaces while standing on other static unsafe surfaces and never had a piece of equipment die because of it.

Back when I was in computer repair in high school, we had benches with carpet on them with a dozen guys working on stuff and nobody ever had an ESD related component death.
 

MikeS

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Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,493
Location
Toronto ON Canada
I think you're a genius!

And don't believe those negative Nellies who say that ESD is a myth, part of the Illuminati conspiacy; it is REAL!

Yes, I think you need a ground rod at least 8 feet long; some folks think a galvanized rod is sufficient but I'd use a copper bonded one or even stainless:
http://www.ecmag.com/section/safety/dirt-ground-rods
Driving it into the ground can be a chore; here's a tool to make it easier:
http://www.drivezecorp.com/mangroundrod.html?gclid=CJbb3ez9stYCFdxMDQodZLkMhw
Or you can do it the hard way:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kpI8PFNYl4
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-install-a-ground-rod
The cable connecting it to the equipment should be at least 8 gauge or so.

As far as your body goes, I'd dig a little pit filled with water to stand in barefoot for the best conductivity; 25 ohms is generally considered the maximum.

A word of caution: stay indoors if there is a thunderstorm nearby!

m
 
Last edited:

KC9UDX

Space Commander
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
Messages
7,468
Location
Lutenblag
No matter where you are, just keep a hand on the chassis, or touch it periodically, to equalise your charge with the chassis potential. Of course don't do this with the power on. But if you do that and don't shuffle your feet or anything like that, you have nothing to worry about.

Earthing rods and the actual earth (ground, dirt, etc) have little to nothing to do with static dissipation on this level. Being indoors or outdoors doesn't have much to do with static potential. As long as you are at the same potential as the components you are working on, it doesn't even matter if you have a 1MV static charge.
 

glitch

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Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
4,997
Location
Central VA
ESD equipment is snake oil, right up there with blinker fluid.

Not entirely. ESD is not as much of a concern with modern devices, especially when they're already built into an assembly (i.e. not bare ICs). Old MOS stuff is certainly static sensitive, though in my experience not so sensitive that you need to be strapped to ground (simply working on a metal workbench appears to be fine). You can find micrographs out there of what happens to bare MOS IC dice when they receive a static zap, it can in fact blow pits out of the IC.

Do you need an ionized air blower, ESD approved special workbench, etc? Probably not. Should you scuff across the carpet in wool socks while petting a cat in silk pajamas and then work on electronics without grounding out first? Also probably not :)
 

Dwight Elvey

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Jun 21, 2003
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4,760
Location
Santa Cruz
Things don't have to be grounded, you just want things at the same potential.
Always touch the surface of the item you intend to pick up first then pick it up.
Always touch the chassis of the item you are installing first and then install it.
Static damage is real. It doesn't always show up immediately. It can be years
later when it shows.
Some items are particularly static sensitive but most have robust protection.
Components like 4016, 4051, 4052, and 4053 are particularly easy to damage.
The analog signals have no input protection diodes like other CMOS logic inputs
have. I've seen these damaged with ungrounded soldering iron tips as well as
poor handling.
I'm sure I could wipe out almost any computer with the discharges I get in
Los Vagas on a cold winter day. Even using a key first to discharge, I jurk
from the discharge.
Dwight
 

Plasma

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
1,298
Just get a snorkel and assemble your computer underwater. I guarantee zero ESD.
 

computerdude92

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2014
Messages
957
Location
Alaska
I think you're a genius!

And don't believe those negative Nellies who say that ESD is a myth, part of the Illuminati conspiacy; it is REAL!

Yes, I think you need a ground rod at least 8 feet long; some folks think a galvanized rod is sufficient but I'd use a copper bonded one or even stainless:
http://www.ecmag.com/section/safety/dirt-ground-rods
Driving it into the ground can be a chore; here's a tool to make it easier:
http://www.drivezecorp.com/mangroundrod.html?gclid=CJbb3ez9stYCFdxMDQodZLkMhw
Or you can do it the hard way:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kpI8PFNYl4
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-install-a-ground-rod
The cable connecting it to the equipment should be at least 8 gauge or so.

As far as your body goes, I'd dig a little pit filled with water to stand in barefoot for the best conductivity; 25 ohms is generally considered the maximum.

A word of caution: stay indoors if there is a thunderstorm nearby!

m

Thank you for your support, MikeS! I'm trying to do the best I can to make my computers last as long as possible. Isn't being a perfectionist great? ;-)
 
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