Vulnerability of Electronic Devices to Atmospheric Charging

Some precautions

ESD can cause a range of harmful effects of importance in industry, including gas, fuel vapour and coal dust explosions, as well as failure of solid state electronics components. These can suffer permanent damage when subjected to high voltages. Electronics manufacturers therefore establish electrostatic protective areas free of static, using measures to prevent charging, such as avoiding highly charging materials and measures to remove static such as grounding human workers, providing anti-static devices, and controlling humidity. ESD simulators may be used to test electronic devices, for example with a human body model or a charged device model.

  • Be cautious when working around or with electronics during raining, stormy and cloudy climatic conditions. Before handling electronic components, it’s important to realize that semiconductors can be damaged by high voltage “static electricity”.
  • Always switch off and un-plug all the electronic devices in house during a rain.
  • Wait for self drying of all the open electronic device users before switching them on.
  • When working with any electronic equipment it is best to be sure we are totally discharged by touching something that is metal.
  • Integrated circuits and transistors have several connections. If all of these connections are at the same voltage, there is no potential difference across them and no damage will result. However, if just one of the connections sees a different voltage from the rest, damage may occur. Protect them by connecting all of the pins together or wrap them in aluminum foil.
  • To remove the dangers of static electricity to electronic devices, increase the airflow into the room.
  • Grounding is especially important for effective ESD control.

In the end, the best way to protect electronic devices is to keep them disconnected from power sources, away from antennas, and shielded in a well-sealed and insulated Faraday cage.

Acknowledgement: The use of information retrieved through various references/sources of internet in this article is highly acknowledged.

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