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ESD Wrist Strap, What to Connect To?

Ok, been working on Mobile Phones for a few months and every now and then a phone will play up or not turn on at all after i repaired it.

I work in quite a humid area with carpet all over the place and lots of other things that build static.

I have a wrist strap but i don't know what to use to ground it. I don't have a computer case near by, i work on a wooden desk and the radiator closest to me looks like it has plastic pipes, as this is a new building.

Is there anything i can buy/make to clip my alligator clip onto so that i am grounded as i handle small chips and PCB's alot.

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4 Answers

Chosen Solution

Most anti-static mats have an anchoring point (metal snap) to connect the wrist strap to and a second one to tie to earth ground. If you have a clip type of cord on your wrist strap you can clip it to the mat and then using a clip or snap connection from the mat to earth ground.

As others have stated your 3 prong outlets offer a good ground point. I would recommend making sure you don't have any mis-wired outlets in the area your working (black wire going to the chrome screw on the side of the outlet - needs to be to the brass colored screw!)

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Hence....my previous comment to prove that the outlet is properly grounded

using a little 3prong electrical tester that lights up if grounded properly.

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Attach a solder lug to the center screw of the nearest AC power outlet. Just remove the cover screw and put it through a proper size solder lug and tighten the screw back on the cover where you removed it from. Attach the wrist strap when you will be handling ANY electronic parts or equipment.

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Hook it up to something metal that you have on hand. This is sufficient to ground the strap.

I personally take basic precautions like touching a unpainted part of the chassis and that’s usually okay, but it isn’t a myth and is a real thing. As long as you take precautions, you can (usually) get away without the ESD strap. I might be lucky, so I’d take precautions if there’s even a question if you can wing it or not as I do. At least in my experience, ESD is overhyped like it’s the end of the world as we know it. Don’t lose your mind and buy into it with thousands of dollars in protection, but also don’t skip the precautions that come up because you keep getting told ESD is so bad it’s the end of the world if it happens. It is real and it needs to be mitigated to the extent you practically can.

Unless you’re working on something like a 1U rackmount server where the strap should always be used as a precaution, it generally isn’t an issue to touch something once in a while to discharge yourself. It isn’t worth going crazy to make sure you got it right every step of the way on common consumer equipment like low end to midrange laptops. Use common sense for this consumer oriented equipment and you’ll be fine.

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Humidity dissipates static, not contributes to it. Its' low humidity days during winter and early spring that are the worst! And it can vary in severity depending on what part of the country you are in.

You stated the building is new. As such, the electrical code would stipulate that the ground of each AC outlet in the building be properly grounded.

Get yourself an AC tester (they are cheap) and confirm that it lights up and indicates a proper ground when plugged into the outlet. If so... plug the wrist strap ground wire into the ground (round hole) of the nearest AC outlet after proving that it is grounded - North American wiring, other countries are different!

If your wrist strap does not have a prong on it that fits an AC outlet ground then you have a choice. Get one that does. Or connect the ground wire to the metal screw that holds the plastic plate onto the AC outlet.

It's usually in the middle of the plastic decorative plate that covers the AC outlet.

I'd prefer an anti-static mat that plugs into the outlet ground. That way you aren't performing wrist bondage which !@&^&$ me off and gets in the way.

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I prefer the opposite approach...LOL....I put a Van DeGraff static generator

on the other end of the bench and if it makes through that then you're

good to go :) ANyways....we pros make light of anti-static measures

and quite often we will poo-poo them, however, it's a very real thing

and if we blow something up we were warned. But still, many times

we do not use any special measures.

Most static can be totally mitigated by simpler measures.

I simply stay put....touch the power supply or other appropriate

ground and NOT walk around and shuffle my feets on the carpet.

Stay put until you accomplish the task at hend.

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@cns - Sometimes the damage takes awhile to show up. Think of it this way you bend a paperclip ones so it appears just fine, then you bend it again this time it snaps (metal fatigue). This also happens within the chips! Always use proper ESD you are doing your self and your customer right.

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