Prototyping / ESD safety

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by mbabayan, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. mbabayan

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    30
    1
    I have a question about setup of the working area.
    What is the safest (from ESD prospective) working desk surface?

    I've been working on this intercom system for a while where I have to deal with two radio modules, which are definitely ESD sensitive - now, I have my circuit on the perfboard, with the radio module next to it, wired in - there are not a lot of ways to secure the module itself (no mounting holes on the PCB), it's designed as a daughterboard. Can't plug it in directly into perfboard as well because of an incompatible pitch.
    So, it just lays on the desk surface and naturally touches it. What do I put underneath it? Is simple wooden surface safe enough? Any alternatives?

    Thank you,
    -MB
     
  2. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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  3. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    1,585
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    3M anti-static mats have been available for 30+ years and can do a good job. That link shows one that will probably be $85 delivered or so. Before you think that's outrageous, consider what a destroyed project is worth. You can also use a sheet of aluminum, but that's not as preferable if you like to power up boards sitting on the bench, as the metal can short things sticking below the board.
     
  4. mbabayan

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    30
    1
    I've read about antistatic mats before, and what I was confised about is that they are conductive - isn't that a problem for a circuit being laid on top of them? Is the resistance high enough so it's not a problem?

    As far as the price - would something like this do the trick?
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    A typical static mat measures several megohms per square inch (or cm). This kind of conductivity is fine for ESD control, and also doesn't short out most electronics (there are exceptions). Basically, if you are powering up a circuit you can always put a piece of cardboard under it, or put it into its chassis first.

    I'm at a computer that I am very restricted on, so I don't click links. Later, on my machine, I'll check it out.
     
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