In this article we will cover what Electrostatic Discharge is, why it matters, and ways to prevent it by sharing the best practices to install ESD sensitive devices.
- What are ESD sensitive devices?
- Best Practices for handling ESD
- Handling circuit boards
- Workstation Rules
What are ESD sensitive devices?
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is the flow of electric current between two electrically charged objects. This can occur when a positively charged object makes contact with a negatively charged object. Friction can also cause static electricity to build up in an object and transfer it to another object. Lastly, there can be charge created by induction, which means that charged objects can charge other conductors nearby without any physical contact.
ESD sensitive devices are electrical and electronic components that are vulnerable and can be damaged from ESD such as Integrated Circuits and Printed Circuit Boards.
Best Practices for handling ESD sensitive devices
Now that our Access Control is launched, it is crucial to be aware of ESD damage and ways to prevent it, however, it is good to be mindful about this topic in general, as it can be applied to other of our products as well. Keeping in mind that people are the most common source of ESD, here are a few simple ways to prevent ESD from happening.
Take precautionary measures
- Installers should try avoiding as much friction as possible. For example, clothing such as sweaters and corduroy materials tend to create more static through friction, instead wear cotton. As a general note, boards or components should never come in contact with clothing because normal grounding cannot dissipate static charges on fabrics. Be mindful of other everyday examples that could create friction such as walking across a carpet or peeling tape.
- During installation, if there is a junction box used for mounting, it would be a good practice to touch the junction box before touching the camera, or to touch any other metal surface (a ladder for example).
- Humidity levels also affect the amount of charge created, a lower relative humidity level increases charge generation as the environment is drier. Dry skin, especially in the winter, is a leading cause of ESD.
Wear ESD safe equipment
It is highly encouraged that ESD sensitive devices are handled only after personnel have grounded themselves via wrist straps and mats.
- The wrist strap is an effective piece of safety gear that aids and prevents the buildup of static electricity near highly sensitive electronics. You can think of the wrist strap as a ground bracelet, it consists of two elements, a wrist band and ground cord. The wrist strap has a 1-mega Ohm resistor built into it that has to be in contact with a surface, in this case skin.
ESD Work Mats
- ESD mats include a metal conductor that charges from surface contact. Mats would be a great addition to using wrist straps because they will transfer the static charge from the user to the mat and to the ground. The mat is essentially acting as a large resistor.
There are other options available such as ESD gloves, smocks, lab coats and jackets.
Handling Circuit Boards
There are some scenarios where the installer could come in direct contact with a circuit board, for example, when replacing an SD card, or aiming the camera lens. That is when sensitive devices would be at the highest vulnerability. To avoid ESD damage in those situations, connect to a grounded wrist strap, place the device with the circuit board on a static controlled surface (ground yourself first on a grounded floor or table mat) and try not to directly touch the board if it can be avoided.
There are other instances where the installer could indirectly expose the circuit board to ESD damage, for example when removing the lid of a camera. ESD could be conducted through a screwdriver, therefore, make sure to ground the screwdriver first before working on any cameras. Another scenario would be when plugging in the camera to PoE through an Ethernet cable, if the installer has a charge, that charge will be transferred. To avoid this, make sure to ground all conductors, including yourself, before handling and plugging in the cameras.
As a recap, try following these simple rules to ensure an ESD protected work area:
- Don't take off your wrist strap, unplug it to move around but don't take it off or you will need to retest.
- Keep out all insulators (materials that don't allow current flow and cannot be discharged by grounding), packing materials such as plastic bags and Styrofoam, paper or tissues.
- Keep all sensitive hardware directly on the work mats
- No rolling chairs
- No food or drinks
- Move slowly and precisely
Have more questions? Contact Rhombus Support at +1 (877) 746-6797 option 2 or email@example.com.
Interested in learning more? Contact Rhombus Sales at +1 (877) 746-6797 option 1 or firstname.lastname@example.org.