Electrostatic discharge (ESD)

Essay by Tj19855High School, 12th grade April 2004

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Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the transfer of electrons from one object to another. You probably know ESD better as static electricity, or static shock. When you walk across carpet and then shock yourself touching something metal, this is ESD.You experience ESD far more than you might think. The transfer of a static charge to or from a human being cannot even be detected unless it is greater than 3,500 volts. ESD occurs continually when any two or more objects come into contact.

The problem with ESD as it relates to computers is that humans don't feel ESD transfers less than 3,500 volts, but most electronic computer devices are sensitive to charges at half this level. So, when you work on the internal components of your computer, you may be damaging or destroying the components in the computer via ESD, and not even feel it.

When working on the inside of a computer, you should always take the most conservative precautions available to help prevent damage from ESD. Many computer shops sell special wristbands, which aid in grounding you while working on computers, like the ones shown in class by Mrs. Grochett. Always use a wristband when working on computers in the classroom. Antistatic mats, always a winner in the lab. These little beauties have a wire attached that is attached to the screw on a wall socket, which grounds the mat. You should always assemble or disassemble PCs on an antistatic mat to ground the equipment as you are working on it, also we will be using this in class.

The keyboard is the most touched computer component and therefore is more able to be damaged by E.S.D. Carpets in our homes produce a lot of Electrostatic Discharge therefore is dangerous to touch home electronics.